Ipiranga Museum reopens its doors to celebrate bicentennial

Ipiranga Museum independence bicentennial
The iconic “Independence or Death” painting. Photo: Isaac Fontana/CJPRess/Folhapress

After nine years closed, the Paulista Museum of the University of São Paulo — more commonly known as the Ipiranga Museum — will finally reopen its doors today. First inaugurated 127 years ago, the museum was conceived as a monument to Brazilian independence, being built on the site where Dom Pedro I, Brazil’s first monarch, severed ties with Portugal.

Initially, the grand reopening was scheduled to take place on September 7, which marks the 200th anniversary of Brazil’s independence. However, to prevent political demonstrations from harming the reinauguration, it has been diluted into smaller events starting today. 

The reopening will only be for a few authorities and sponsors. On Wednesday, 200 students from municipal and state public schools and workers responsible for the restoration will be able to visit the new museum with their families. 

The site will only open its doors to the general public on Thursday morning. However, all 4,000 tickets made available until Sunday were sold out in less than 10 minutes.

For those unable to purchase their tickets, which will be free until November, concerts outside the museum will continue celebrations until the end of the week. In addition, on Wednesday evening, 200 drones will take to the skies outside the museum in a presentation that will illustrate iconic moments of the country’s history. 

Home to more than 450,000 historical artifacts, including documents and iconography, the museum first opened on September 7, 1985. Originally focused on natural history, it became an important space for showcasing the story of Brazil, for instance with the famous painting “Independence or Death” by Pedro Américo.

However, the museum has been closed to the public since 2013 for much needed renovations. The institution faced a severe financial crisis and suffered from conservation and safety problems, having to be closed due to the risk of imminent collapse.

Now, with the improvements, between 900,000 and 1 million people are expected to visit the museum every year.

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