The Carmen Miranda Museum at Parque do Flamengo, in Rio de Janeiro, has over 3,500 items which help pay a tribute to the singer and actress Carmen Miranda (Feb.9, 1909-Aug.5, 1955). About 200 items are on display. A great part of the museum collection is available for research upon request.
Roughly 460 of the items in the collection are garments and accesssories. You'll see some of the famous platform shoes five-foot tall Carmen (known as the Pequena Notável, or the "Notable Little One") wore throughout her career. There are also glam dresses, like the one she wore for her last show the day before she died; and some of her signature turbans, icluding the one she wore for her wedding.
You'll also see plenty of balangandãs - the dangling charms that were part of Carmen's baiana style.
The Museum Building
The circular building occupied by the Carmen Miranda Museum was designed by modernist architect Affonso Eduardo Reidy, who was a member of the Oscar Niemeyer and Lucio Costa work team.
Initially meant as a Flamengo Park leisure center, the construction was adapted for its current use by Ulisses Burlemaqui in 1975.
The Museum and the Carmen Miranda Birth Centennial
In February 2009, the museum opened the celebration of Carmen Miranda's birth centennial with a weeklong event featuring an exhibit, movies and lectures with Ruy Castro, author of Carmen (Companhia das Letras), a biography created over the course of three years of research and writing.
As part of the birth centennial year kickoff, the museum got a life-size resin statue of Carmen, created by artist Ulysses Rabelo, who studied her death mask and dental arch for the project.
The statue wears the actual dress Carmen donned in That Night in Rio (1941).
More About Carmen Miranda
Castro, the author of Bossa Nova: The Story of the Brazilian Music That Seduced the World, wrote most of Carmen while fighting cancer. In the book Álbum de Retratos - Ruy Castro, his wife and author Heloisa Seixas quotes him as saying, "Carmen saved my life".
Castro's degree of involvement with Carmen Miranda's story and his great attention to detail have yielded a book that has garnered nothing but good reviews. Hopefully, it will be translated into English soon, in the spirit of Carmen's birth centennial.
Another important source of information about Carmen's life is Cynthia Adler's documentary Bananas Is My Business (1995).
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Avenida Rui Barbosa (across from #560)
Rio de Janeiro - RJ