For the implementation of an African Diaspora Museum in Rio de Janeiro
The Little Africa tour has being our most popular experience especially by African Americans in search of their ancestors’ traces and how they developed in Latin American cultures. This particular audience demonstrates a higher level of engagement and willingness to exchange information, to understand Brazilian culture as a way to shed light over their own understanding of unique and common issues across Americas.
The Little Africa experience is developed in a connection with the research institute and slave cemetery of the New Blacks (IPN) and the African Heritage Circuit, visiting the archeological sites where the largest Transatlantic Slavery Traffic took place in the old historic port area, in Rio de Janeiro, the Valongo Wharf (World Heritage Site, UNESCO 2017). More info at UNESCO World Heritage site
Despite the importance of the circuit and archeological sites, the IPN has been suffering with the lack of funds and involvement of local authorities. Its free workshops were terminated this year because Mayor Crivela cut the funding destinated for them. But #ipnresist keeping its doors opened to welcome visitors interested on learning more about African diaspora.
The Museum of Tomorrow was built as a technology museum disregarding claims of local comunity to build it into a logic of the historic movements that took place in the region. Even though the museum covers some topics of the local history through their cultural programming, the initiatives are still very shy if you think about the potential of the museum.
The discussion follows a tense atmosphere between those who propose the creation of a Museum of Slavery and those who believe on a Museum of African Diaspora. Like the ones in São Paulo, San Francisco (MOAD), Washington DC ( The brand new NMAAHC).
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum in the US devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by an Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts. Nearly 140,000 individuals have become charter members of the museum. The NMAAHC opened on September 24, 2016, as the newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution.
We especially highlight the Afro-Brazilian heritage tour to demonstrate how they are perfectly aligned with the National Museum of African American History and Culture four pillars: opportunity for African Americans to learn about history through interactive exhibitions and tours, understand global connections, shared values, knowledge exchange among people and institutions. Therefore we envision the potential for a collaboration connecting both institutions and audiences and tailoring experiences based on Smithsonian’s collections and the Afro-Brazilian heritage tour.
There’s still time to change directions. Resisting is a must. Yes we can claim for the Tomorrow museum to represent the local history, through supporting and connecting its programming with the African heritage circuit, the IPN, and local initiatives of Afro descendants. But to win this battle people get to unite, claim ownership and occupy spaces.