Updated on March 12, 2014
One of Brazil's newest museums is also the new gateway to a popular ecotourism attraction in Minas Gerais State. Opened on Aug.7, 2013, the Maquiné Cave Museum in Cordisburgo is part of a broader cultural initiative, to be further advanced in time for 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, comprising the opening and the renovation of several venues in and near Belo Horizonte, a host city in the event.
Discovered in 1825 by farmer Joaquim Maria Maquiné, the cave with seven rooms measures 650 linear meters and contains one of Brazil's most complex collections of speleothems, or cavestone formations, resulting from calcite deposits. It was extensively explored and studied by Danish scientist Peter Wilhelm Lund (1801-1880), for a few years with the assistance of his fellow countryman, botanist Eugen Warming (1841-1924). Lund's work was illustrated by Norwegian painter Peter Andreas Brandt (1792-1862), who, like Lund himself, lived in the town of Lagoa Santa till the end of his life.
Digital specimens of Minas Gerais flora, with a focus on the cerrado biome, and animals, including replicas of fossils found by Lund in the cave, are among the highlights on display in the 400-square-meter museum with updated video walls, which has replaced the former visitors center as the gateway to the Maquiné Cave.
Lund, who first visited Brazil in 1825, started exploring Maquiné and other caves in the Lagoa Santa region upon his return to the country in the early 1830s. Besides discovering human fossils that would become known as the Santa Lagoa Man, he found many fossils of animals. Smilodon populator, a type of saber-toothed cat, was found at Maquiné.
The new museum is Marker 5 on the Peter Lund Cave Route, proposed by paleontologist Cástor Cartelle and located about 63 miles from Belo Horizonte. The route encompasses Markers 0 to 4 - the Museum of Natural Sciences at the Pontifical Catholic University (PUC-MG) in Belo Horizonte; the Peter Lund Gravesite, in Lagoa Santa; the Peter Lund Museum at the Sumidouro Park in Lagoa Santa; and Gruta Rei do Mato, a cave in Sete Lagoas - besides Marker 6, the Guimarães Rosa House Museum in Cordisburgo. Tha latter commemorates Cordisburgo native Rosa (1908-1967), one of the greatest Brazilian writers of all time.
Daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
R$ 16 (half-price available; free admission for children 5 and younger).
Address & Contact Information:
Via Alberto Ramos, MG 231 - Km 7
Cordisburgo - MG