In Brasília, a new Museum of Democracy will document the 2023 insurrection

The Brazilian Institute of Museums and Brazil’s Ministry of Culture recently announced plans to build a museum that displays archival ephemera pertaining to the insurrection on January 8, 2023 after Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was elected Brazil’s president, and former President Jair Bolsonaro lost.

The Museum of Democracy will be sited on land next to Cláudio Santoro National Theater in central Brasília. The venture will display videos, audio recordings, and photographs from the insurrection that ensued on January 8, 2023 when myriad art works and parts of the government building by Oscar Niemeyer were damaged or totally destroyed.

At one point during the insurrection, security footage reveals the far-right looters in unison exclaiming “Break Everything! Break Everything!” In total, three buildings by Neimeyer were vandalized, including the Palácio do Planalto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

On January 8, 2023 a political riot at government buildings in Brasília protested the presidential election results. (Courtesy Government of Brazil)

Art pieces by Emiliano Di Cavalcanti, Jorge Eduardo, and Alfredo Ceschiatti, and others, were damaged during the insurrection and are presently being restored by the National Historic and Artistic Heritage Institute and the Federal University of Pelotas. 

To date, news clippings and security footage that will be sited in the prospective Museum of Democracy have already been uploaded online by curators in a digital exhibition. At the Museum of Democracy, curators will present the January 8 insurrection in an unbiased manner while other events will narrate the story of democratic institutions since ancient Greece. The space will also examine the state of democracy at the international level, the foundation of Brazil’s 1888 constitution, and tell the story of the 1964–85 military dictatorship in Brazil.

The Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento (PAC) has contributed approximately $8 million for construction of the museum, which is slated to start in 2025 with an anticipated completion date of 2027. According to a press release a competition to choose an architect and design scheme for the project will be launched soon.

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