Abiacute;lio Barreto Historical Museum (Museu Histoacute;rico Abiacute;lio Barreto - MHAB) is the historical museum of Belo Horizonte, built in a significant location of "Curral del Rei", the old small village that originated the capital city of Minas Gerais State, in the Southeast of Brazil. The centenary city was planned and built in the late 19th Century in substitution to Ouro Preto the former capital of Minas Gerais State. The Museum is now celebrating its 60th anniversary, as Belo Horizonte completes 105 years. The capital is presently the third biggest city in Brazil, with more than 2.5 million inhabitants.
MHAB has been going through a deep revitalization process in the past ten years. A new building was constructed in order to provide the institution with adequate technical reserves for the preservation of the collection. The new building has an auditorium for 100 people, a coffee bar, an exhibition room, a store, besides proper areas for the collections processing and preservation, as well as administrative work.
The new building's architectural project itself is part of the revitalization process. The floor plan was made by two well-known architects in the city, Aacute;lvaro Hardy and Marisa Machado Coelho, who were awarded the following prizes for this specific work: the 6th edition of the Brazilian Institute of Architects' Prize - Minas Gerais Section (1997); Urban Gentleness Prize (1998); "A" Category Prize; Building Project in the 8th edition of the Brazilian Institute of Architects' Prize (1999). The work was also indicated by the architect Roberto Segre to represent Brazil in the 2nd Mies van der Rohe Prize for Latin American Architecture, held in Barcelona, Spain, in 2000. It was also indicated by the major of Belo Horizonte, Fernando Pimentel, to represent the city in The Prince and the Architect, which will take place in Milan and Bologne, Italy, next September.
The "Old House" (the "Casaratilde;o", located besides the new building) was restored and furnished with lighting and security equipments, in harmony with its architectural specificities. The "Old House" is one of the most important pieces of MHAB's collection, as the only preserved building of "Curral del Rei", the former small village that turned out to be the capital city. Since it is an ideal model of 19th century architecture and culture in Minas Gerais, the "Casaratilde;o" is nowadays a precious document and a rich testimony of the ancient society that inhabited the region before the construction of the new capital. As part of a broader project of making the city a place of memory and collective identity, the "Casaratilde;o" is currently a center that holds educational activities for students, teachers, professors, and the society as a whole.
Various publicizing projects have also been implemented during the last years. One of them is the MHAB Sticker Album - the 5th edition is to be released in September. This album was awarded several national prizes, such as Rodrigo Melo Franco Prize (2000) and Advertising Club of Minas Gerais (1999 and 2000). Please see attached documents for more information about this distinctive project.
Last but not least, Abiacute;lio Barreto Historical Museum held the commemorative exhibition "MHAB: a 60 year history". This was an important opportunity for the citizens to know more about the Museum's trajectory, the memory and history of the capital city. A collection of five historical notebooks is another significant part of the exposition. Two of them were already released, and the other ones will be edited until next year.
A successful partnership established by MHAB with civil society, through the creation of the Association of Friends of Abiacute;lio Barreto Historical Museum (AAMHB), was the fundamental motor for bringing investments to the project. It counted with the participation of private enterprises in the process of valorizing the city's cultural identity and the Museum's revitalization. The experience turns out to be even more representative in a context of scarce public inversions, leading to a lack of investments in preserving the cultural patrimony.
The experience of Abiacute;lio Barreto Historical Museum is successful partnership between the public sector (the Museum is a public institution under the Belo Horizonte City Hall) and civil society - AAMHAB, which lead to the conclusion of the revitalization project, the edition of various products, and the awarding of important prizes. As an important consequence of all these efforts, the Museum has enlarged its visibility in the city, as like Brazil.
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