“Two hundred years of work, investigation and knowledge have been lost,” President Michel Temer tweeted.
The museum is Brazil’s oldest.
Sérgio Sá Leitão, the country’s culture minister, told the newsmen how tragic it was to see the museum in flames, and, according to a translation of his remarks, said the fire “could certainly have been avoided.”
The museum holds thousands of items related to the history of Brazil and other countries, according to its website, and is part of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
Many of its collections came from members of Brazil’s royal family, officials said.