UCL Centre for Digital Humanities


Post-disaster strategies at the National Museum/Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, 01 May 2019

UCLDH seminar pixel art

Rescuing collections and rethinking the role of digital technologies

Event Information

Open to







IAS Common Ground
South Wing, Wilkins Building
Gower Street
United Kingdom

This seminar will present the post-disaster efforts at the Brazil’s National Museum/Federal University of Rio de Janeiro to recover and expand its collections in a physical and digital way. In September 2018, the main building of the museum, the XIX century Palace of São Cristovão, was destroyed in a devastating fire. In the disaster, four out of six departments (Anthropology, Entomology, Invertebrates as well as Geology and Palaeontology) were severely damaged or destroyed, including working cabinets, collections and exhibits material. In particular, the collections from the Department of Anthropology, and its five sectors: Ethnology, Social Anthropology, Archaeology, Biological Anthropology and Linguistics, were devastated by the fire. 

Since then, the museum staff have focused their recovery efforts in various directions, including: 1) rescue of the remaining collections of the palace where hundreds of fragments have been recovered; 2) organization of physical objects and digital data that have survived the fire; and 3) organization and acquisition of new collections. The role of digital technologies in these recovery efforts will be explored during the seminar. In particular, the potential of these technologies to support the documentation and reconstruction of what has been lost as well as to enable the organization of the remaining data will be examined. As a museum, collections play a central role in the mission of its staff within the university, which include education, research and extension. Finally, building up interdisciplinary collaborative networks between the National Museum and institutions in the UK, with further possibilities to rise funds in future projects will be discussed. 

All are welcome and there will be drinks and discussion after the presentations. Attendance is free but we kindly ask that you register for the event

This event is organised by UCLDH, which is part of the UCL Institute of Advanced Studies. 


Cristiana Serejo

Cristiana is a graduate in Biological Science, with a PhD in Zoology, University of São Paulo (2001) and post-doc at the Australian Museum (2004). Currently, she is associate professor at the National Museum/UFRJ. Since March 2018, she has held the Deputy Director position at the National Museum/UFRJ at Rio de Janeiro on a 4 year tenure. In the same year, Cristiana was elected to be Head of the Collection Committee of the Museum. As a researcher, she works with evolution and systematics of Crustacea and supervises Masters and PhD students in the Zoology Graduate Program at the museum. She is Associate Fellow of the Brazilian Crustacean Society and Associate Editor (Biological Science) of the Annals of the Brazilian Academy of Science. Internationally, she is Editor of some groups within the Order Amphipoda from the World Register of Marine Species

Edmundo Pereira

Edmundo is an anthropologist and ethnomusicologist with a PhD in social anthropology from the Programa de Pós-graduação em Antropologia Social/ National Museum/UFRJ. Edmundo is currently the Head of the Department of Anthropology (2017-2019) and an Associate Professor at the Department of Anthropology of National Museum/UFRJ. He is a member of the Research Laboratory on Ethnicity, Culture and Development (LACED) and the Group of Studies on Popular Culture (GECP/UFRN). He is co-editor of the Collection of Sound Documents of the National Museum and works mainly in the following research fields: indigenous ethnology, ethnicity, ethnomusicology, popular culture and patrimonialization, history of anthropology. 

Asla Medeiros e Sá

Asla is a Mathematician, Lecturer and Researcher at School of Applied Mathematics at Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV/EMAp), which she joined in 2007. Asla completed a PhD in Sciences with an emphasis in Computer Graphics at the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (Visgraf at IMPA) in 2006. She completed an MSc in Applied Mathematics, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (DMA/IM/UFRJ) in 2001. From December 2015 until August 2016 and from July 2012 until February 2013 she held a post-doc position at the Cultural Informatics Research Group at the University of Brighton, UK. In this role, she got involved with additive manufacturing within the context of cultural heritage applications and developed research in cellular structures for additive manufacturing. In 2017, she published the book Sobre Malhas Arquimedianas, in Portuguese. The research on the topic is an ongoing collaboration with Visgraf/IMPA; see Synthesizing Periodic Tiling of Regular Polygons.