Natal Museums and Art Galleries

(Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil)

Although it may be the beaches of Natal that draw the biggest crowds, the city's museums and galleries should not be overlooked, often being the perfect diversion on a rainy afternoon.

Managed by the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, the Museu Camara Cascudo (Camara Cascudo Museum) is the largest museum in the whole of Natal and was founded in 1960. This popular attraction not only celebrates the local folklore and culture ever present in Rio Grande do Norte, but also contains an eclectic collection of some rather surprising and unexpected exhibits, such as skeletons of an elephant and whale, together with fossilized footprints of dinosaurs and pre-historic pottery dating as far back as the Neolithic and Paleolithic periods.

Museu Camara Cascudo - MCC / UFRN (Museum Camara Cascudo)

Address: Avenida Hermes da Fonseca 1398, Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, BR
Tel: +55 084 3212 2795
A number of the relics on display at the Museu Camara Cascudo relate to the past Indian culture (Potiguares), including bows and arrows. There is also a display documenting the importance of the sugar and leather industry in this part of Brazil, together with stuffed animals, religious sculptures and an authentic replica of an ore mine from Currais Novos.
Open hours: Tuesday to Friday - 08:00 to 10:30, 14:00 to 16:30, Saturday and Sunday - 13:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discounts for students and children

Museu de Arte Sacra (Museum of Sacred Art)

Address: Rua Santo Antonio 698, Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, BR
Tel: +55 084 211 4236
Established in the late 1980s, the Museum of Sacred Art is to be found at the Igreja Santo Antonio (Church of St. Anthony), which was built in the 1760s and stands on the Rua Santa Antonio. Many valuable pieces are displayed here and relate to the Christian Catholic religion, such as 18th-century paintings. Visitors will also find some antique furnishings, silverware used in religious ceremonies, jewellery and images of shrines.
Open hours: Tuesday to Saturday - 09:00 to 17:00, Sunday - 11:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge

Museu de Cultura Popular (Museum of Popular Culture)

Address: Praca Augusto Severo, Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, BR
Tel: +55 084 3232 8149
Located within the barrio of Ribeira, the Museu de Cultura Popular was inaugurated as recently as 2008, being created in a successful attempt to help preserve the native folk culture. In total, the collection comprises some 1,500 individual pieces, with everything from pictures and works of local artisans, to videos documenting traditional dancing and craft demonstrations. The exhibition is divided into several themed areas, including knowledge and actions, art and religious beliefs, and dancing and traditions.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 09:00 to 16:00, Saturday and Sunday - 10:00 to 16:00
Admission: free