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Southern Landscape, Brazilian Scene, and Museum Action

Paysage du Sud, scène brésilienne et action muséale
Magnólia Costa
p. 73-82


La gestion de crise est inhérente à l’activité muséale au Sud. Depuis leur création, les musées du Sud ont été condamnés à un révisionnisme continu afin de rester vivants et utiles à la société. L’enquête sur les forces historiques, économiques et sociales qui ont contribué à la création de musées dans le Sud met en évidence leurs particularités en contraste avec les institutions occidentales. Dans le Sud, la fondation des musées correspond à l'émancipation politique, n'impliquant pas pourtant le collectionnisme des artefacts locaux. Au Brésil, les musées d'art abritent des collections directement référencées en Europe. L’art occidental y domine le circuit des expositions. Cette caractéristique a consolidé au Brésil deux perceptions complémentaires sur les musées. Dans l'imaginaire populaire, ils sont destinés à ceux qui sont initiés à la culture. Dans celui des élites, les collections brésiliennes sont inexpressives, ne méritant pas d’attention. De la combinaison de ces deux perceptions résulte la crise avec laquelle les musées brésiliens sont toujours confrontés. L'inefficacité des politiques culturelles et la timidité de la société à participer au secteur culturel ont conduit les musées à agir agressivement pour attirer le public dans le monde d’art.

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1Crisis management is inherent to the museum activity in the Southern countries, particularly Brazil. There is no other way to describe the situation of Southern museums, which, since their creation, have been doomed to a continuous revisionism of practices in order to remain alive and useful to society. Investigation of historic, economic and social forces that contributed to the creation of museums in the South highlights the peculiarities of Southern institutions in contrast to Western ones, which inspired them. These peculiarities ballast the contributions of Southern museum activities to the global debate on the role of museums in today’s societies.

About the West and the South

2More than geographic references, the words “West” and “South” indicate a cultural relationship, historically configured through the relationship between colonizer and colonized. That relationship, which dates back to the 16th century, is based on the principle of exploitation and is politically constituted according to two paradigms – civilization and extraction.

3The first paradigm is influenced by the British colonizing action in North America and part of Oceania. The second paradigm is highlighted in the Latin efforts in the Americas south of the Rio Grande. With the end of colonialism in these areas, they were designated either as wholes or individually. We have, on the one hand, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand; on the other, Latin America.

4In the scope of today’s geopolitics, new designations reiterate old discriminations. The arrangement of the world scene is determined by interaction of political units that articulate themselves firstly through religion rather than culture, as indicated by the widely influential analyst Samuel Huntington (1996). He described the contemporary geopolitical map as formed by eight different civilizations organized in conformity with specific religious principles.

5Huntington suggests that Western Civilization would be composed by Western and Northern European countries, part of North America and part of Oceania. Their political unities are inspired by values of Reformed Christianity. Another particularity distinguishes it from other civilizations; it is identified “by a compass direction, and not by the name of particular people, religion or geographical area” (Huntington, 1996, pp. 46-47).

6Compass direction” is a vague expression that palms the political-economic forces established in the Europe-North Atlantic axis and expanded in a global scale throughout the 20th century. “West” therefore designates societies that are socio-economically highly developed, politically sovereign, culturally hegemonic, and conveniently deprived of an eventual colonial past.

  • 1 Since World War I, penetration of American capital [in Latin America] was intensified, both in a t (...)

7Latin American countries are not oriented by the same compass that guides the West. According to Huntington, they constitute a different civilization. However, counter to Huntington’s statement, this region cannot be defined by ethnic or religious homogeneity, much less by geographic localization, given that the adjective “Latin” does not allude to a location in the American continent, but to the ancient culture that instituted the idea of West itself. The expression “Latin America” has no historical basis; it is an invention of the US Pan-American policy.1

  • 2 Maybe because of this, Huntington defines Latin America as a “sub-civilization” derived from the We (...)

8The transformation of a political construction into civilization happens, according to Huntington, through remission to a colonial past by countries situated to the south of the US. The legacy of Catholicism, the incorporation of Native cultures, and the adoption of standards different from the Western one in promoting development are clear allusions to colonial servility, to the acculturation of autochthonous populations, and to political authoritarianism (Huntington, 1996, p. 46). Equated, these factors would result in underdevelopment, which is, according to this logic, the main character of Latin American civilization.2

9However, across the vast territorial expanse that goes from Mexico to Argentina, dissimilarities are as numerous as similarities (Furtado, 2007, p. 29). After concluding their respective processes of independence, Latin American countries aimed their efforts at defining specific national personalities, resulting from combining elements as distinct as physical characteristics of their territories, cultural multiplicity of previously existing societies, as well as the great ethnic diversity of settlers, enslaved populations, and immigrants.

10Constituted in the 19th century, Latin American nations are fully aware of European heritage in the formation of their identities. Actually, they are constituted as nations exactly because they are guided by European revolutionary ideals. They perceive themselves as Western, while also perceiving the Western colonizing world as constantly menacing their sovereignty and development. After World War II, this perception led Latin American countries to integrate a common axis of history and to form a collective awareness, which has never implied recognition of any collective cultural identity, much less of any distinct civilization, or even one deriving from any other.

  • 3 “. . . we will consider underdevelopment as a creation of an economic system with planetary reach. (...)

11Latin America is a concept produced through US hegemony. The South is a concept deriving from a geopolitical division operated by economic globalization. Latin American countries belong to the South, just like others, in different continents, which possess similar historical substrata and great social discrepancies generated by the impact of production processes that were suddenly introduced by developed countries.3 These developed countries are situated far North of the Equator; however, they are culturally, politically, economically, and militarily concentrated in the abstract West; they constitute today’s Western civilization.

Western Museums: Unattainable Models

12Southern countries, particularly those with stronger connections to Western culture, have an ambiguous relationship with that civilization. A feeling of suspicion atavistically permeates interactions with Western countries. However, this sentiment coexists with admiration, prevailing on a socio-cultural perspective. Southern countries aspire to attain the same level of organization as Western powers. They also wish to affirm their sovereignty through cultural preservation, be it their own or exogenous, exactly the way Western powers do with their museums. According to Southern perception, museums are the most polished expression of the Western world’s high level of cultural development. They are models to be replicated. And they have been, thus far.

  • 4 E. g. Charleston Museum (1773) and Peale Museum (1783), currently Maryland Historical Society.

13In Europe, museums appeared in the 18th century, through state decision. Their educational aim was aligned with Illuminist cultural ideals and with the socio-political reorganization prompted by the end of traditional regimes (Bazin, 1967, p. 169 and ss.). In the US, the first museums were contemporary with independence from Britain and, as such, efforts by private initiative.4 In both cases, European and American, museums were results of the rule of law, expressing a desire to build history and, through it, national identity.

14A similar movement might be observed in the Southern countries of Latin America. After their Independence movements, at different moments in the first quarter of the 19th century, each country created at least one museum to collect fossils, minerals, and artifacts that were collected during colonial times (Lopes & Murriello, 2005, p. 203).

15Just like Western museums, Southern museums propose an identity discourse based on the pieces they preserve, and they do so with the same goal: to inscribe their countries in history. However, attainment of this goal does not have any correspondent in the reflection sphere. Southern museums rarely turn to their institutional history, marked by instability. Constant oscillations in the political and financial scenes have direct repercussions on Southern museums, which concentrate their resources on maintenance and not on collecting, planning, programming, and research.

  • 5 In Brazil, the federal governmental agency responsible for the national museums policy was created (...)

16Institutionally speaking, it is highly meaningful that the primary source of history and characteristics of many Latin American museums is a US book published in 1929 by the American Association of Museums, currently American Alliance of Museums. The foundation of ASM dates from 1906. The creation of its South Department in 1911 was contemporary with the introduction of US investment in South America. Directory of Museums in South America is an inventory of the “museums’ movement” in the area, conducted by the ASM director who visited seven South American capitals in 1928 (Coleman, 1929, p. iii). National museum societies came much later in Latin America; their publications are rare.5

  • 6 “The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded on April 13, 1870, ‘to be located in the City of New Yo (...)

17The main differences among Southern and Western museums rest in their collections. In the Americas, the first museums were natural history museums. These predominated in the Southern museum scene until the 20th century, when art history museums were founded. In North America, museums of this kind appeared contemporarily with the foundation of art schools. The collections of North American museums comprise both local and European pieces, sometimes also coming from different parts of the world. From their origins, North American art museums were conceived according to all-encompassing projects, some of them with universal intentions.6

  • 7 In Brazil, the main federal government museum aimed at housing art collections was founded in 1937, (...)

18In the South, history has unfolded in a different manner. It was not uncommon for natural history museums to incorporate artifact collections and, eventually, artworks (Lopes & Murriello, 2005). Museums aimed at preserving art objects appeared after the institution of local academia in the late 19th century, whose teachings are inevitably oriented by the European model. Incorporation of exogenous works does not follow any institutional project, rather it results from factors as varied as history’s hazards and unexpected donations.7

19More than a hundred years separate Western and Southern museum activity. That time difference allowed Western museums to form collections of artifacts produced in many different parts of the world, the South included. In this part of the world, the foundation of museums corresponds to political emancipation, a fact that does not imply collection of artifacts and works that are directly connected to local cultures.

20Museal culture in the South is quite recent. Furthermore, it is entirely based on Western models, particularly the European. The environment, the collection and, above all, the discourse of Southern museums have little reverberation in their public, which is quite diverse and, due to educational deficits in many countries, not familiarized with either the European culture or aesthetics.

21In Brazil, this set of factors led to a consolidation of two distinct and complementary perceptions regarding museums. In the people’s imagination, museums are spaces dedicated to those who are culturally initiated, that is an economically favored social tier. For the elites, local museums have both inexpressive and incomplete collections when compared to European and North American ones, therefore, they do not deserve any attention. As a result of this combination, Brazil historically faces great difficulties in forming collections, financing exhibitions, and attracting visitors.

  • 8 According to data supplied by the French government, in 2009, the Louvre received 8,388,000 million (...)
  • 9 “As regards concrete policy actions, Latin American countries exhibit different levels of maturity (...)

22In order for Southern museums to attain the same level of those that inspire them, it would be necessary to count on rigorous State policies and legal support for their application, in the same way as the West where the museum sector significantly contributes to the success of the creative industry and its growth in the scope of national economies.8 In the South, a conceptual debate regarding a creative economy is incipient; it does not have any impact on the museum sector.9

23If inspirational models are unattainable, we need to build feasible models. Southern initiatives in the museum sphere are fruits of this need.

Southern Museums: The Brazilian Scene

  • 10 Museu de Arte de São Paulo (1947), Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (1948), and Museu de Arte Mod (...)
  • 11 Many examples could be mentioned. One of the most pointed occurred at Museu de Arte Moderna de São (...)
  • 12 See, for instance, Lei Federal de Incentivo à Cultura, n. 8313/91, known as Lei Rouanet. Data indic (...)

24Similar to other Southern countries, museums in Brazil are in a permanent state of crisis. After years of being enchanted by Western Modernist utopia, a period when the main Brazilian private museums were founded,10 the 1960s were marked by many institutional shocks,11 creating a situation that started to turn around in the 1990s with implementation of legal resources encouraging society to participate in cultural life through tax reductions.12

25Despite these incentives, participation is not significant, as Brazilian society does not see themselves as protagonists in the cultural scene nor as consumers of its products. Financial resources are scarce for every museum, both state and private. Facing permanently unstable financial situations, the only choice for museums is to invest their meager resources in building their public.

  • 13 In the state of São Paulo, 54 per cent of museums have education sectors. In them, 80.5 per cent of (...)

26In Brazil, the relationship with the public happens through educational efforts, attention to groups, and catering to spontaneous visitors. Those services are free of charge, as is the entrance to many museums.13 Every institution that charges entrance fees has discount policies for different segments of the population and offer free entrance on specific days.

27Brazil is essentially a diverse country; thus, the museums try to cater to the public in its diversity. Nevertheless, Brazilian museums’ cultural agendas are not always realized at the institutions’ physical facilities. They are not always aimed at attracting more visitors. Continuously renewed social demands may lead museums to extend their fields of action in order to cater to these demands.

Museum and Social Phenomena: a Case of Disruption and Conciliation

28The Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo has recently faced an unexpected social challenge that led it to act beyond the museum sphere. It is important to note that MAM is located in Ibirapuera Park, the largest and most visited in São Paulo, a city with a population over 20,000,000 without an adequate proportion of leisure areas, particularly those free of charge. Economic growth recorded over the past few years in Brazil significantly increased the proportion of the middle class, enabling their higher consumption, particularly of technology. However, people belonging to this social segment do not enjoy the benefits that economic prosperity should offer. Their quality of life is still below desirable levels. They do not have access to good education or to adequate housing, health care, and transportation. Obviously, they still do not perceive museums as accessible places.

29Over the last three years, youth aged thirteen to eighteen have started to gather around MAM on Sundays. They identify with the Museum’s location, with its 1.2 acre Sculpture Garden, a huge graffiti panel by OsGemeos, and a long glass façade where they can see themselves reflected. These youth belong to different groups distinguished by their musical preferences. They organize gatherings through social networks. The aim of these gatherings is to consume both lawful and unlawful drugs, as well as public sexual practices. As a result, problems range from individuals in alcoholic comas, aggressive episodes, fights, and a large variety of accidents. The Museum grounds are damaged, artworks are vandalized, glass panels are scratched, and the garden is destroyed.

30About one thousand youth meet around MAM every Sunday. The Museum has become the epicenter of a reality involving health and public safety issues that reflect historical problems in education and social organization. Unfortunately, the Museum cannot count on public agencies that should be responsible for the political efforts necessary to resolve this situation. Instead, it is left to its own devices. In order to deal with this problem, MAM developed extra muro programming aimed at filling the Museum’s surroundings with cultural and artistic events, free of charge and accessible to every member of the public.

31Implemented in early 2014, the Domingo MAM [Sunday MAM] program is coordinated with exhibition seasons. Musical performances, capoeira and Brazilian traditional circles, theatrical shows, jam sessions, graffiti and engraving workshops are part of the schedule, created in collaboration with non-governmental organizations aimed at social welfare.

32In this short period, we have observed a significant increase in public participation around MAM. We have also seen fewer fights, other aggressions, and alcoholic comas, as Domingo MAM participation depends on the interested party’s awareness and proper behavior.

33Equally or more important than this result is the possibility of social dialogue established by the program. MAM is a museum aimed at diffusing Modern and Contemporary Art. It is, by excellence, a place where all artistic languages communicate and integrate. MAM’s main mission is to make art available to the largest number of people possible, which means extending action to the public space. Collaborations with institutions that are conceptually identified with MAM allow us to surpass some budget obstacles. Collaborations lead to accomplishment. Crises have offered opportunities for growth.

Brazilian Museums: Contributions to Democracy

  • 14 Examples are museums installed in low-income areas through community initiatives. This is the case (...)

34Brazilian museums do not make financial profits; they make society profit. That profit is mainly social.14 Educational and accessibility policies eliminate physical, sensorial, intellectual, and social barriers. They are the first step towards integration of the public. Museums promote integration by providing aesthetic experiences that are sensorially irreplaceable, epistemologically unique, and socially democratic.

35To democratize is to integrate diverse aspects, something crucial in divided societies such as in Brazil. Local institutions’ patrimonial and financial resources are scarce; however, practices aimed at producing knowledge are abundant, and they are efficient in battling the effects of the economic abyss that divides Brazilian society. In Western museums, financial resources are growing, however, their practices seem to be turning towards prosperity of the creative industry rather than battling the grave social crises that sweep richer countries.

36The Brazilian museum scene seems doomed to scantiness of resources, frailty of cultural policies, and instability of institutions. Brazilian museums have always been constructed under the sign of necessary immediacy and opportunity. However, throughout their brief and tumultuous history, they have always been aimed at the public.

  • 15 In 1996, the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo created the first Education Department in a Brazili (...)

37Regardless of any alignment with international policies toward social development, Brazilian museums, particularly MAM São Paulo,15 have specialized in actions converging to attain each of the goals projected by the United Nations for 2015: 1) eradication of poverty and reduction of inequalities; 2) gender equality; 3) sustainable development; 4) global partnerships; 5) social inclusion of youth; and 6) access to new forms of communication (UNTCAD, 2008, pp. 33-40).

38Brazilian museums contribute to the strengthening of democracy by promoting integration of different aspects through art and cultural efforts. Specialized in crisis management, Brazilian museums can contribute greatly to the world’s debate on museum social functions.

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Bazin, G. (1967). Le temps des musées. Liège: Editions Desoer.

Brazil, Ministério da Cultura. (n.d.) Lei Federal de Incentivo à Cultura, n. 8313/91. Retrieved 12 March, 2015, from /l8313cons.htm.

Brazil, Ministério da Cultura. Ibram. (2011). Museus em números, 2 vols. Available from Accessed on 12 March 2015.

Casa do Artista Popular. (n.d.). Criação do Ibram e aprovação do Instituto Brasileiro de Museus. Retrieved from Accessed on 12 March 2014.

Clark, H. (2012). Sharing Development Experience between Latin America and Africa. UNDP. Retrieved from Accessed on 11 April 2015.

Coleman, L. V. (1929). Directory of Museums in South America. Washington D.C.: The American Association of Museums.

Fesel, B., & Söndermann, M. (2007). Culture and Creative Industries in Germany. Retrieved 8 July 2015 from

France, Culture et Communication. (2010). Culture chiffres. Retrieved from Accessed on 12 July 2013.

Fundação Oswaldo Cruz. (2008). Pesquisa perfil opinião (2008). Available from Accessed on 12 March 2015.

Furtado, C. (1975). A hegemonia dos Estados Unidos e o subdesenvolvimento da América Latina. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 2nd ed.

Furtado, C. (2007). A economia latino-americana – Formação histórica e problemas contemporâneos. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 4th ed. (reviewed).

Huntington, S. P. (1996). The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Touchstone Books

IBGE, Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística. (2012). Participação das grandes regiões e unidades da federação no Produto Interno Bruto – 2002-2012. Retrieved 8 August 2015, from /economia/contasregionais/2012/default_ods_2002_2012.shtm (table 02)

Lopes, M. M., & Murriello, S. E. (2005). El movimiento de los museos em Latinoamérica a fines del siglo XIX: El caso del Museo de La Plata. Asclepio, vol. LVII-2-2005. Retrieved 12 March, 2015, from

Metropolitan Museum of Art. (2000). Museum Mission Statement. Retrieved 12 March, 2015, from

UNTCAD. (2008). Creative Economy. The Challenge of Assessing the Creative Economy: towards Informed Policy-making. Retrieved from Accessed on 12 July 2015.

UK, Department for Culture, Media and Sport. (2012). Sponsored Museums: Perfomance Indicators. Retrieved 12 March, 2015, from

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1 Since World War I, penetration of American capital [in Latin America] was intensified, both in a traditional form of investments through portfolios and as financial control of companies. This last form of penetration gained impetus from the 1930s in the manufacture sector, the one with the fastest growth. Thus, a clear situation of economic domination by the regional set of the US was configured, which in turn widened and deepened political domination institutionalized in the set of Pan-American agencies. . . . A similar process would occur in the frame of the UN, where Latin American countries were widely used by the US as submissive mass of machinations during the years of the Cold War, a time when they represented about one third of the votes on the General Assembly.” (Furtado, 2007, pp. 31-32, my translation. See Bibliographic References for data concerning the British edition of this title.)

2 Maybe because of this, Huntington defines Latin America as a “sub-civilization” derived from the Western civilization.

3 “. . . we will consider underdevelopment as a creation of an economic system with planetary reach. In this way, we will consider underdevelopment as a creation of development, that is, as consequence of the impact, in a large number of societies, of technical processes and of form of labor division radiating from the small number of societies that had been inserted in last century’s industrial revolution. The relationships that are established between these two kinds of societies involve forms of dependence that tend to auto-perpetuate.” (Furtado, 1975, p. 8, my translation) An important current reference to the division of the globe into Northern and Southern can be found in the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The UNDP Brazil collaborates to promote and implement technical collaboration through sharing of practices, knowledge and expansion of solidarity links between cooperating countries, signing Southern-Southern agreements in many different domains (Clark, 2012).

4 E. g. Charleston Museum (1773) and Peale Museum (1783), currently Maryland Historical Society.

5 In Brazil, the federal governmental agency responsible for the national museums policy was created in 2009 (Casa do Artista Popular, n.d.). Ibram’s [Instituto Brasileiro de Museus] main publication, Museus em números [Museums in Numbers], consists of a census conducted in the 26 Brazilian states, based on the descriptions of Museums’ collections, exhibitions and physical structures. Data involving content, numbers and profiles of visitors are not part of this document (Brazil, Ministério da Cultura, Ibram, 2011).

6 “The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded on April 13, 1870, ‘to be located in the City of New York, for the purpose of establishing and maintaining in said city a Museum and library of art, of encouraging and developing the study of the fine arts, and the application of arts to manufacture and practical life, of advancing the general knowledge of kindred subjects, and, to that end, of furnishing popular instruction.’ This statement of purpose has guided the Museum for more than a century. The Trustees of The Metropolitan Museum of Art have reaffirmed [September 12, 2000] the statement of purpose and supplemented it with the following statement of mission: ‘The mission of The Metropolitan Museum of Art is to collect, preserve, study, exhibit, and stimulate appreciation for and advance knowledge of works of art that collectively represent the broadest spectrum of human achievement at the highest level of quality, all in the service of the public and in accordance with the highest professional standards.’” (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000).

7 In Brazil, the main federal government museum aimed at housing art collections was founded in 1937, from the legacy of the Imperial era. The Museu Nacional de Belas-Artes collection includes works brought in by the Royal Court in 1808 and produced at Escola Nacional de Belas-Artes (1890), some of them donated by members of the civic society. This institution does not have their own website. In the sphere of state political unity, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo might be the oldest museum, having been founded in 1905.

8 According to data supplied by the French government, in 2009, the Louvre received 8,388,000 million visitors, of which 69 per cent paid an entrance fee; 90 per cent of these visitors saw its permanent collections (France, Culture et Communication, 2010, pp. 3-7). Data from Germany indicates that, in 2004, cultural industries represented 1.6 per cent of the GDP, among which 25.4 per cent came from the Museum Shops and Art Exhibitions segments. We must note that this segment grew 4.1 per cent from 2003 to 2004 (Feser & Söndermann, 2007, pp. 10-17, 20). Official data from the UK show that the British Museum received about 5.8 million visitors in 2011; the number of paying visitors to temporary exhibitions is not discriminated. We must note that 42 per cent of the 44.5 million visitors to British state museums come from abroad (UK, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2012). None of these reports present data regarding the business volume of museums comprising shops, cafés/restaurants, associations, courses, lectures, performances, closed group visits, publications, image rights, pieces loans, etc. Percentiles of the contribution of creative economy to the GDP or GVA of five Western countries are similarly expressive: 3.1 per cent in Australia (1998-9); 3.5 per cent in Canada (2002); 2.8 per cent in France (2002); 5.8 per cent in the UK (2003); 3.3 per cent in the US (2002) (UNTCAD, 2008, p. 30).

9 “As regards concrete policy actions, Latin American countries exhibit different levels of maturity and awareness of the potential of creative economy to foster development, and sharp differences also occur within individual countries. In general, culture-related goods and services still tend to be marginal from the economic perspective and culture is considered almost exclusively in terms of anthropological definitions. The economics of culture lies somewhere between the public institutions in charge of culture and those dealing with development issues but joint efforts are uncommon.” (UNTCAD, 2008, p. 52). Polls conducted in the Brazilian museum sector corroborate Unesco/UNDP’s findings. Unlike European surveys regarding museum visitation, aimed at the economic impact of the museum industry, Brazilian surveys are focused on understanding the composition of their audience (gender, age, ethnicity, monthly income, occupation), and the reason for their visit (school, tourism, spontaneous) aimed at supporting the creation of public policies for the cultural field (Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, 2008). Figures appear in the analysis of distribution of Brazilian museums per region. São Paulo state’s GDP represents 32.1 per cent of the Brazilian GDP (IBGE, Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística, 2012). This is the state with the largest population in the Federation, and also with the highest per capita income. This is where the largest number of museums are located, as well as the largest number of visitors. That state hosts 517 of the 3,025 Brazilian existing museums; 25.5 per cent of them are located in the state’s capital city. About 17.5 per cent of the state’s population (40 million) have visited one museum in 2010, corresponding to 7,000,000 visitors.

10 Museu de Arte de São Paulo (1947), Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (1948), and Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (1948).

11 Many examples could be mentioned. One of the most pointed occurred at Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo in 1963. In a maneuver that surprised the Council and the Board of MAM São Paulo, the Museum’s founder and then president terminated its activities and donated the collection to the University of São Paulo. MAM was restored in 1969 through an initiative of its former board. A new collection started to be formed.

12 See, for instance, Lei Federal de Incentivo à Cultura, n. 8313/91, known as Lei Rouanet. Data indicate the effects of Lei Rouanet on the museum sector. In the state of São Paulo, 47 museums were founded between 1981 and 1990; 63 between 1991 and 2000; and 41 between 2001 and 2009. 21.9 per cent of the museums in São Paulo state are private (Brazil, Ministério da Cultura, Ibram, 2011, vol. 1, pp. 446-447).

13 In the state of São Paulo, 54 per cent of museums have education sectors. In them, 80.5 per cent of visits are monitored: 96.5 per cent for children; 83.1 per cent for adults; 71.1 per cent for seniors. These data are similar to national figures (Brazil, Ministério da Cultura, Ibram, 2011, vol. 1, pp. 463-464). Entrance is free in 81.3 per cent of the museums in São Paulo state. Among those charging an entrance fee, 25 per cent charge less than $1.00; 6.3 per cent charge more than $5.00 (Brazil, Ministério da Cultura, Ibram, 2011, vol. 1, p. 453).

14 Examples are museums installed in low-income areas through community initiatives. This is the case of Museu da Maré, founded in 2006 by residents of the favela complex of the Maré suburb in Rio de Janeiro. The museum has a permanent exhibition, online exhibitions, and a document collection; it also promotes seminars, art workshops, professional training courses, and editorial production projects. All activities are facets of its institutional mission: to collectively build the history of the Maré communities and to preserve their memory. The museum is installed in a warehouse provided by a maritime logistics company; it is the main meeting place for the complex’s residents. Funds come from the private sector and, currently, also from the city and state administrations. The workforce, including experts in museum activities, come from within the communities.

15 In 1996, the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo created the first Education Department in a Brazilian museum, aiming at building collaborations with public and private schools, in all levels. Besides free services to the school visitors, always accompanied by artistic activities in studios, teachers receive free update programs. MAM has also created programs of artistic training aimed at visitors with special needs, as well as the first professional training courses for deaf art educators. Professionals trained by MAM today are part of educators’ teams in the main museums in the city. Events, talks and courses aimed at integrating diversified visitors are part of the Museum’s schedule.

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Magnólia Costa, « Southern Landscape, Brazilian Scene, and Museum Action », ICOFOM Study Series [En ligne], 43a | 2015, mis en ligne le 06 février 2018, consulté le 17 mars 2018. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/iss.577

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Magnólia Costa

Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo – Brazil

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