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By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – After numerous setbacks, the Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow) is scheduled to officially open on Sunday, March 1st in Rio de Janeiro’s Zona Portuária (Port Zone). The opening will be part of the city’s year-long celebrations of its 450th anniversary.

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Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes inaugurating the visitation room of the Museu do Amanhã on February 19th, photo by Tania Rego/Agencia Brasil.

Promising to be a place where science, art, technology, and culture meet, the museum will feature interactive installations, games, and audiovisual displays that celebrate advances in science and technology as well as predict and inspire future achievements.

Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes officially inaugurated the visitation room of the museum on February 19th. The eighty square meter space, which is open free to the public Tuesdays through Sundays from 10AM to 5PM, features interactive videos and devices giving visitors an idea of what to expect from the museum.

“It is a preview of the narrative structure of the Museu do Amanhã,” curator of the museum Luiz Alberto Oliveira told Agência Brasil during the inauguration of the room. “It’s an applied science museum that can be used to explore future possibilities. The idea is that the visitors here, to this little room, will have a first taste of what the complete contents of the museum will be.”

The museum represents one of the major constructions of Porto Marvavilha, a project to revitalize the city’s Zona Portuária (Port Zone).

Costing an estimated R$215 million, R$85 million over the originally budgeted R$130 million, the work was funded by the city and federal government as well as private investors including Banco Santander.

With the museums’s location near the port terminal, where many cruise ships dock, investors hope the museum will draw visitors from around the world after its opening, during the future 2016 Olympics Games and far into the future. Once completed, Hugo Barreto, Secretary-General of the Roberto Marinho Foundation, told Agência Brasil he anticipated the museum will attract approximately one million tourists a year.

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Original proposed image of the Museu de Amanhã when completed, image recreation.

Construction of the museum has not been a smooth process with setbacks beginning as early as 2013, when auditors reported irregularities in plans for the building’s scaffolding and an elevator. Then earlier in January of this year, the Ministry of Labor temporarily suspended construction after a worker died on site and another auditor reported problems with the museum’s power system.

There have also been protests against the entire Porto Marvavilha project, with complaints about expenses, the aesthetics and placement of new structures and outrage that construction has displaced current residents.

Regardless of setbacks or protests, the museum’s March 1st opening is officially included on the calendar of events celebrating the 450th anniversary of the city. Mayor Paes said the newly scheduled opening will be a gift to the city on its birthday, which officially is March 1st.

“We want the inauguration of the museum on March 1st to be like a cake, like a grand present to the city,” Paes told G1.

More than 200 events are taking place throughout the city in celebration of the city’s 450th year. Anniversary events began with the Réveillion (New Year’s Eve) 2015 celebrations on Copacabana Beach and have continued with various openings,activities and performances including samba school Portela’s 2015 Carnvial enredo (theme): “ImaginaRio, 450 janeiros de uma cidade surreal” (ImagineRio, 450 januaries of a surreal city), which paid homage to the city.

The Rio 450 celebrations will continue throughout the year. For more information about the events, see the official homepage.

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