International movement for a new Museology

Mouvement international pour une nouvelle Muséologie

Movimiento internacional para una nueva Museología

Museum of the Republic´s Director go in defense of the Brazilian Institute of Museums


 The Brazilian museologist Mário Chagas, 62-year-old, considers himself one of the parents of the collective process that gave bitrh to the Brazilian Institute of Museums (Ibram), created by the brasilian Law 11.906/09, during the administration of Culture Minister, Gilberto Gil, during Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva govenament. Like the 400 or so employees who work in the local authority responsible for the national museum policy, it is difficult for Chagas to understand the creation of the Brazilian Museum Agency (Abram) by means of provisional measure number 850, from top to bottom, just three months after the end of a of the most unpopular governments of recent times. With a degree in Museology, a Master's degree in Memory and a PhD in Social Sciences, the current director of the Museum of the Republic, professor of Museology at Unirio and president of the International Movement for a New Museology (MINOM), does not know whether Ibram was consulted on the creation of Abram or about the extinction of the former. His only certainty is that the biggest difference between the exchange of "I" for "A" is in the time and in the gestation of each of the governmental organs: "Ibram was born of a collective project, widely discussed with Brazilian society".

In what circumstances was Ibram created?

It was born out of an old demand, which had existed since 1980, by an agency that brought together federal museums. During the management of Gilberto Gil in the Ministry of Culture it was possible to meet that demand dammed. The result was a collective work, widely debated, with student mobilization, of teachers and technicians, which until today sensitizes people. I consider myself one of the parents of this parenthood and collective motherhood. If it had not been for Gil's body and voice, we would not have been able to. It was, therefore, an institution created with much mobilization in the defense of the Brazilian cultural patrimony, that still involved the participation of Portugal, Spain and France, many people were in favor. The impact was so great that Ibram served as a reference for other countries, such as the Íbero-América program, which involves the Iberian peninsula and 24 other countries, including Latin America. To this day Brazil is a strong reference because of the work with our museums, mainly for Argentina and Chile.

What is the work of Ibram?

In the past there was the National Pro-Memory Fund, which merged with the Institute of National Historical Heritage (Iphan). In 2003, I worked at Iphan, and Minister Gil established the Museums Department at Iphan. There was an effort to create a body in the central structure that would aggregate and liaise with the 30 federal museums linked to Iphan. That was when the construction of the National Museum Policy, the PNM, as it was affectionately called by the students began. This policy has not only turned to the 30 federal museums, it has encouraged the modernization and creation of new museums, created prizes to stimulate the media, such as the Mário Pedrosa Prize, and other prizes for Education. From this policy, the Memory Points program was created, which works with popular communities and with the valorization of memory, which allowed the creation of the Favela Museum, in the Cantagalo, Pavão and Pavãozinho, in the South Zone, which still works. There were hundreds of memory points dotted around the city. Last week, on September 7, 8 and 9, the Memory of the Southeast Region took place, a meeting of all memory points and people working with communities and social works. All this in the scope of the national policy of museums. Varied edicts were made, as well as another important museum education program, with the appreciation and general guidelines for educational work developed in museums, so that educational practices could be executed, until today with great vigor. Memory Points and Museum Education were outstanding programs. The creation of Ibram, which is a rib of Iphan, has been approved by law.

How does the institute complement what Iphan does?

Iphan takes care of all cultural heritage of national material or immaterial reference, takes care of the tipping and the protection of the material collections, from the architecture to the immaterial goods. We have entire cities, such as Paraty and Ouro Preto. Ibram is a special look at what we call museum processes, focused on museums.

What kind of responsibility could be attributed to Ibram in relation to the National Museum fire?

All the museums in the country, public or private, are within the scope of Ibram's attention. The National Museum is in the Ibram field of interest, although it is linked to a university. He has so much attention to the case of the National Museum that before the fire the seminar on the 200 years of the institution was held at the Banco do Brasil Cultural Center (CCBB), from which I participated, from August 1 to 5. It was organized by Ibram in partnership with the National Museum. If one were to say that the National Museum should be transferred to Ibram, I would say no, unless there was a deep national debate. The university has the autonomy to play the museum as it should be done.

How would you classify the importance of the National Museum to the country?

The National Museum is the oldest in Brazil in full operation. Everyone has some memory attached to it. It was the first museum I ever visited with my school. He continues to deserve all our affection, but we must respect those who play the museum, who had their lives dedicated to it. The new director, Alexander Kellner, had been struggling in a direction, seeking solutions, using these 200 years to value the institution. Its action is concrete, it used the 200 years like strategy. It ended up marked by the fire.

What did you think about the suggestion to turn museums into Social Organizations (OSs)?

About this debate that came after the fire, I find it quite rushed. I am not against or favor. I think, however, that everything that is done without further reflection tends to go wrong. It is worth remembering that the Museu da Língua Portuguesa, in São Paulo, which was also burned down, was an OS.

What could prevent Ibram from raising funds from the private sector?

The history of Ibram is recent. It's 10 years in 2019, it still needs to be improved. If we take the history of Ibram, we can see that great partnerships have been made since it was created, with Petrobras, Eletrobras, Caixa Econômica, BNDES, all in various notices. There are exits. The paths had already been created. Other ways could be opened, with adjustments. We are not satisfied with Ibram, we wanted to improve it. Adjust it, correct it. If every crisis destroys one institution and creates another, we will not get anywhere. Iphan, for example, is from 1937, much of his success is based on his longevity, the accumulation of experience. This is what we want for Ibram to become a long-standing institution.

For you, what would justify the creation of Abram, if all the employees of Ibram will be reused in the new body, as announced by the Minister of Culture?

In my assessment, as Gil says, Ibram is the wheel, there is no justification for replacing it with another body. His creation was deeply meditated, he went through six years of gestation, he was not born overnight, his work includes public and private institutions, he has a very large participation. It has legitimacy and support, I see no justification to be extinguished. What is needed is a budget increase, it is necessary to improve the budgetary conditions of culture in Brazil, which does not reach 1% of GDP.

What are the differences between Ibram and Abram?

The main difference is that Ibram was born of a collective project, widely discussed with Brazilian society. That's the difference.

Was there any consultation with the Ibram team about the creation of Abram?

I do not know, but I do not think so.

How many employees do Ibram currently have?

There are about 400 people. If we look at the Louvre in Paris, only the museum has 1,500 employees. If we consider the national scale, with the size of the country, very few people are responsible for caring for cultural heritage in territory as extensive as Brazil.


Article of CELINA CÔRTES, celina.cortes@jb.com.br, to Jornal do Brasil - Read here in portuguese.