If you’re looking for an escape into nature and see the environment through the eyes of a naturalist, Mello Leitão Biology Museum has it all. Founded on 26 June 1949, the museum is the result of the scientific efforts of researcher Augusto Ruschi. Bearing the name of ‘Mello Leitão’ in honour of Cândido Firmino de Mello Leitão, Ruschi’s professor and friend with whom he had been working at the National Museum of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro since 1937, the museum hosts important studies on the Atlantic Forests.
Bringing together a wide range of environments, buildings, including an impressive wooded park spreading on an area of 30,000 sqm, a rupestral garden, animal nurseries, a serpentarium and botanical and zoology pavilions, Mello Leitão Biology Museum has stirred the interest of researchers and scientists worldwide. With an invaluable scientific collection of hummingbirds, orchids, bats and a herbarium featuring 7,000 species of plants for study, the museum stands out among natural history museums across the globe.
Located in Chácara Anita, the museum serves more than a repository of scientific collections, but primarily to serve as a basis for further study and research. This was the purpose with which Augusto Ruschi initially started it and which the public institution proudly still serves today.
In 1984, the biology museum was incorporated into the Federal Government patrimony and later on included in the National Historical and Artistic Heritage Institute – IPHAN and ultimately, in 2009 it was transferred to IBRAM (the Brazilian Institute of Museums). All these institutions are linked to the Brazilian Ministry of Culture.
Following a series of political decrees and measures between 1990 and 2014, the museum was transferred to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI) and was transformed into an institute for research and conservation of biodiversity.
With a strong performance in the educational area, the museum receives millions of students and other visitors annually.