By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – After facing closure earlier this year, the Museu da Maré was recognized as a tourist attraction by the state Department of Tourism of Rio de Janeiro. On Friday, December 12th, the museum received the title of Personality of the Year award granted in the 52nd edition of the Institute of Architects of Brazil (IAB).

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The Museu da Maré was established in 2006 in Complexo da Maré and houses over five thousand historical photos of community and regularly hosts workshops and installations, photo by Tânia Rêgo/Agência Brasil.

This was followed by a brochure launched with information about the Museu da Maré, whose stay was threatened when the Companhia Libra de Navegação ordered the clearing of the lot where it is located. Now the owner of the property was forced to extend the rental lease for ninety days.

To Gizele Martins, a spokesperson in Maré and member of the Jornal Cidadão, which has existed for fifteen years in the area, including the museum as a tourist attraction is important to the community.

“[Everyone] received the news with joy. There are sixteen favelas in the area, and the museum was built by the residents themselves, who took their belongings, photos and objects that make the memory of the tide. A museum built in a favela having worldwide recognition is a great victory,” said Martins.

The State Secretary of Tourism, Claudio Magnavita, explained that the tourist attraction status Museu da Maré equates to the Corcovado and Sugar Loaf, and the main result of this achievement will be investments in publicity, promotion and support that the institution will receive the State.

Magnavita highlighted the creation of the task force that worked to solve the problem of the museum and has to present a solution in fifteen days. The secretary reported that negotiators got a letter from the land owners agreeing to the extension. Now, they will study the legal steps to keep the attraction open with a deadline for a solution of March 10, 2015.

According to the general coordinator of the museum, Antonio Carlos Vieira, the institution recover the history of a community that, instead of feeling shame, shall be proud of where you live, generating a positive feeling for the people living in the community, especially children.

Mike Smith, and American expatriate who has lived in Rio for over five years told The Rio Times; “I have been there twice, both times with my dad when he was visiting. The taxi driver was a little confused but we had the address written down and got there eventually. The museum is amazing, this very real feeling of traveling through time to see what life was like in the community, from its beginning to more modern times.”

Already well known throughout the city and internationally, the Museu da Maré was established in 2006. It is located in Complexo da Maré, a group of favelas in Rio’s Zona Norte (North Zone), home to over 140,000 residents. The area, although occupied by Military forces since April 5th, is the site of frequent disturbances including shootouts between traffickers and police.

The Museu da Maré is located at Guilherme Maciel Street, No. 26, close to Avenida Brazil, and is open from Tuesday to Friday, from 9AM to 6PM, by appointment. When visiting is important to exercise common sense judgement and be sensitive to the local culture, and going with a trusted guide is advisable, especially for those who don’t speak Portuguese.

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