A visit to Rio’s „Museum of Tomorrow“

Shaped like a pineapple plant, the Museu do Amanhã in Rio de Janeiro shows innovative ways to grasp the future.

By Dr. Gabriele Zipf

Those who believe that Rio de Janeiro’s main attractions are the Copacabana beach and Sugarloaf Mountain are sorely mistaken. Not only have a lot of museums and exhibition spaces housed by the city recently received a state-of-the-art makeover but they also host innovative exhibitions and events.

Ever since 2015 the city has had a new iconic landmark in the shape of the Museu do Amanhã – the Museum of Tomorrow. The impressive structure designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava spreads out along the Praça Mauá, an artificial peninsula extending from Rio’s old harbour. The museum’s unusual shape was inspired by pineapple plants its creator saw at the local botanical gardens.

Of all the things the museum has to offer, the most exciting ones are the lab space where artists work on questions of the future as part of a fellowship programme, and the collection. In its first three chapters – „Cosmos“, „Earth“ and „Anthropocene“ – the collection portrays our planet’s current state through overpowering audio-visual and art installations. In two more chapters titled „Tomorrows“ and „Us“ our Brazilian colleagues inspire reflections on how to shape the future. Large audio-visual interactive stations are surrounded by visitors who calculate their ecological footprint, try out the role of politicians deciding questions of sustainability or figure out their own (and sometimes bizarre) type of future.

For those who can’t just hop on a plane and go visit the museum straight away, a journey into the world of tomorrow via its website is also worth a trip.