About the Network

The Brazilian Network of University Museums and Collections (RBCMU) was created in 2017, based on the development of a proposal to articulate collaborative actions and the mobilization of different professionals, professors, students and researchers involved in the preservation and dissemination of university museum heritage. Since January 2021, RBCMU has its own website, called Digital Platform of the Brazilian Network of University Museums and Collections, in the form of a repository, with interactive registration and free access for consultations.

The Digital Platform was developed using Tainacan technology and brings together four independent and articulated databases in a single system, namely:

  • Brazilian university museums and collections;
  • People, students and researchers registered in the Network);
  • Publications with references;
  • Courses and events in Brazil related to university museums and collections.

In order to standardize the information for the constitution of the databases, the university museums and collections were gathered and defined as University Museological Nuclei. Spaces with documented collections and/or exhibitions open to the public were categorized as ‘collection’ (documented collection or exhibition open to the public) or ‘museum’ (documented collection, research program and exhibition open to the public). These are comprehensive definitions, which aim at building a single system that promotes the diversity of the identified University Museological Nuclei, such as: Museums, Memory Centers, Scientific Dissemination Centers, Didactic Collections, Planetariums, among many denominations. RBCMU structures the evidence of a Museum Ecosystem present in Brazilian Higher Education Institutions, to be recognized, preserved, researched and disseminated for wide public knowledge, given its historical, scientific and cultural representation.

The main sources of consultation for the exhaustive mapping of university museums and collections in Brazil were the following:

  • Thesis by Adriana Mortara Almeida, defended in 2001, which presented a list of 129 university museums.
  • Working Group responsible for the panel “University Heritage in Brazil: challenges and experiences”, at the V Permanent Forum of University Museums, held in 2018, at UFMG, which presented a list of 356 university museums across Brazil.
  • Plataforma Museusbr, with 291 university museums surveyed in December 2020.
  • Map of University Museums in Brazil, the result of the project ‘Cultural Heritage of Science and Technology and University Museums: research, analysis and characterization of strategic relationships’, by the Museum of Astronomy and Related Sciences, which listed 444 university museums, in November 2020.
  • Worldwide database of University Museums and Collections of the International Committee for University Museums and Collections of the International Council of Museums (ICOM UMAC), with 206 entries, March 2022. Link: https://university-museums-and-collections. net/
  • Different State Departments of Culture, through the State Culture Systems.
  • Internet tracking, published articles and event reports.
  • Database of the Brazilian Association of Science Centers and Museums
  • Historical Archive of the Research Laboratory in Museological Communication – LAPECOMUS, from MAE USP, coordinated by Prof. Dr. Maria Cristina Oliveira Bruno.

The Digital Platform is part of a set of efforts that seek a better understanding of Brazilian university museums and collections. One of its objectives is the outline     of the university museological heritage, constituted by spaces that maintain didactic and/or research collections     , with exhibitions and other educational activities aimed at the general public, with special emphasis on schoolchildren. University museums and collections are managed by higher education institutions and work in the sphere of teaching, research and extension services. There are sets of spaces that have already constituted their own identities, as well as their networks of cooperation, such as herbaria, planetariums and observatories, which are not listed in the RBCMU database because they already have their own organization systems, but which are considered to belong to the set of University Museological Nuclei, in different academic interfaces, whether in research, teaching or university extension. To learn more, visit the websites of the Brazilian Herbarium Network and the Brazilian Planetarium Association.

In March 2022, the Digital Platform listed 562 University Museum In March 2022, the Digital Platform listed 562 University Museum Nucle, 437 people (museum professionals, professors, students and researchers), 145 referenced publications and 35 courses and events already held, listed, involving registered collections and university museums, to the 562 entries there must be added 25 Planetariums and 218 Herbariums and laboratories with collections open to visitors, adding up to an impressive number of 805 University Museum Nucleus mapped, referenced, with data available and accessible through the RBCMU Digital Platform. These data are constantly being updated.

The database of people intends to share names of professionals from university museums, professors, students and researchers involved with this theme, in order to facilitate partnerships between interested parties in the area. The publications database brings a referenced survey of articles and dissertations covering historical, curatorial, communicational, educational, formative, descriptive, administrative perspectives of university museums and collections, among other possible topics, most of the references have an access link. The fourth database, dedicated to courses and events, provides a list of meetings that addressed university museums.

The Digital Platform of the Brazilian Network of University museums and collections aims at  collaboratinge with studies, discussions, research, planning and cooperation networks directed to the preservation of the various collections and university museums existing in the form of museological centers in many Higher Education Institutions in Brazil, whether public or private. Likewise, it seeks to contribute to strengthening the recognition and appreciation of institutional diversity.