(SKY NEWS) – A 200-year-old museum in Rio de Janeiro has been engulfed by flames.
The National Museum of Brazil houses more than 20 million items, ranging from archaeological findings to historical memorabilia.
Firefighters are tackling the fire, which broke out after visiting hours.
Sergeant Moises Torres from the state’s firefighting headquarters said firefighters were dispatched at 7.30pm. He said there was no immediate information about any injuries.
It is not known what the extent of the damage is, nor what the cause of the fire is.
Brazil’s President Michel Temer said on Twitter it was a “sad day for all Brazilians”.
He added: “The value of our history cannot be measured by the damage to the building.”
The museum is the oldest scientific institution in Brazil and one of the largest museums of natural history and anthropology in the Americas.
It houses several landmark collections including Egyptian artefacts and the oldest human fossil found in Brazil.
The museum, which is tied to the Rio de Janeiro federal university and the Education Ministry, was founded in 1818.
The museum is housed in the Paco de Sao Cristovao, a palace where the Portuguese royal family lived in the 19th century.