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Aécio de Oliveira

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Aécio de Oliveira

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 26/05/2022

By: Lúcia Gaspar - Librarian of the Joaquim Nabuco Foundation - Specialist in Scientific Documentation

[...] In the current phase of humanity, the museum has taken on a completely different meaning from those old concepts. Today, it no longer inspires, as in the past, only the smell of mummies, from the past, but the living record of civilizations, not only past, but also reconstructed in their most interesting aspects, which give us the exact dimensions of man in his multiple development process. [...]


[...] The museum, being a visual school and scientific laboratory, requires from its technician specialized knowledge in three distinct sectors that harmonize in a whole according to the serial division: the artistic, the historical and the scientific. [...]
Aécio de Oliveira, Diario de Pernambuco, Recife, Feb. 4, 1968.


The museologist Aécio de Oliveira was born on July 30, 1938, in the Poço da Panela neighborhood, in Recife, to Lourival de Oliveira and Maria Luiza Pequeno de Oliveira.


He attended elementary and high school at Colégio São Luiz and Escola Técnica de Comércio, both in his hometown.


He studied museums at the National Historical Museum, in Rio de Janeiro, as a scholarship student at the Joaquim Nabuco Institute for Social Research (IJNPS). At the time, he was the only Brazilian technician of the specialty existing in Recife.


[...] When I left for the University of Rio de Janeiro, in search of new knowledge in the field of museology, I already had a solid training, because my biggest reading was the conversations and experiences exchanged with Gilberto Freyre. That moment represented the most dear things I had and that few people had intimate contact with Freyre, Aécio Oliveira said with emotion. [...] (SILVA, 2012).


From 1964 to 1966, he worked as an assistant to Professor Waldemar Valente, at the Anthropological Museum of the IJNPS, currently Joaquim Nabuco Foundation and, from July to August 1968, as head of the Museum of Popular Art, in Recife, and later, the director of the Anthropological Museum of the IJNPS.

In 1969, while studying Museology in Rio de Janeiro, he held several positions related to the museological area, such as director of the Folklore Museum; vice-president of the Center for Museological Studies of Guanabara and assistant to professor Gilda Barros, in the permanent exhibition of the National Historical Museum.


At the beginning of the 1970s, Aécio organized and ministered courses and training for museum personnel at the IJNPS, in several capitals in the Northeast and other Brazilian cities. The first was held in Aracaju, Sergipe, in 1971. Later, they took place in Recife, Fortaleza, São Luís, João Pessoa, Areia (PB) and Natal. In addition to the Northeast region, the training covered other cities such as Belém do Pará, Manaus, Boa Vista, Macapá, Brasília, Goiana and cities in Rio Grande do Sul, among others.

Upon returning from Rio de Janeiro to Recife, he was one of the creators and director of the Department of Museology at the IJNPS, the first to be created in Brazil, in 1971, by the then director of the Instituto Fernando de Mello Freyre.


That same year, he was invited to organize the Museu do Trem, of the Federal Railways, located at the Central Station, in Recife, and he was the secretary of the 1st Interregional Meeting of Social Scientists of Brazil, held in Fazenda Nova, Pernambuco. At the end of 1972, he became director of the Pernambuco State Museum, a position he held until 1974.


Also in 1974, he was one of the creators and organizers of the 1st Meeting of Pernambuco State Museums, held from October 1st to 4th, at the IJNPS. The event had the objective of discussing local problems and writing a document sent to the bodies and authorities responsible for the development of Brazilian Museology.


In the following year, Aécio, with the collaboration of Joaquim Bezerra, organized the 1st National Meeting of Museum Directors, with the aim of discussing the adoption of a policy for Brazilian museums, held from October 22nd to 26th, at the IJNPS, with the sponsorship of the Cultural Action Program of the Ministry of Education and Culture and the partnership of the National Historical Museum, the National Organization of the International Council of Museums (ONICOM), the Imperial Museum and the Departments of Education and Culture of Pernambuco and Recife. The meeting was attended by about thirty museum directors, from Pará to Rio Grande do Sul.


In February 1975, he was appointed to represent the IJNPS at the 1st National Handicraft Meeting, in Brasília, an event promoted by the Ministry of Labor.


Still in 1975, he traveled to Venezuela to obtain a graduate degree, having visited several museums in the country, as well as in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. His thesis was on Museology at the First International Course on Cultural Administration. Two years later, in 1977, he went to the United States, where he visited 56 American museums.


He held numerous conferences and set up several exhibitions in the areas of Museology, folklore, crafts and art, in several Brazilian institutions, especially in Pernambuco and Rio de Janeiro, in addition to participating in national and international forums and congresses. He also served as a curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Pernambuco.


He was the first director of the Museu do Homem do Nordeste (Muhne), opened in 1979, by the still IJNPS, a position he held until May 1986, when he was assigned, for six months, to the Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, in Belém do Pará, in order to advise on the restructuring of the Museology Division and the setting up of the permanent exhibition at that institution.


His basic design for the Muhne’s permanent exhibition – despite having suffered some occasional interventions – remained for 24 years, being dismantled in 2004, when the Museum was closed for the structural and conceptual renovation.


He received, for his work in the field of Museology, medals and honors from several Brazilian institutions such as the Rondon Foundation, the Museu de Valores do Banco Central do Brasil, the Museu do Trem, the Jardim Botânico (RJ), the Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi and the Folklore Museum (RJ). In 1992, he was awarded a certificate of Living History of Recife, by the Museum of the City of Recife, being honored with a bronze plaque by the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, in December 2008, and by the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE), at the inaugural class of his Bachelor's Degree in Museology, held on August 4, 2011, within the celebrations of the thirtieth anniversary of the Museu do Homem do Nordeste. The UFPE course, linked to the Center for Philosophy and Human Sciences (CFCH), is the first in the State of Pernambuco and the third in Brazil. The first two are from Rio de Janeiro and Bahia.


In poor health due to diabetes, Aécio spent his last years enjoying his Granja Santo Antônio, located in Aldeia, located on the border of the municipality of São Lourenço da Mata, Pernambuco.


Aécio de Oliveira died in Recife, on May 22, 2012.


According to the testimony of his teacher and cousin Marcela de Kássia da Silva, published on the Fundaj website the day after his death:


[...] His work technique caught attention due to the practical way of associating recycling with appreciating the products of our land. A northeastern, modern museology, of mixed-race, where we should be in the tropics, before all these Brazilian riches. Making Brazilian things, using plaster, wood, straw and other materials. A follower of Gilberto Freyre's proposals. The preservation of Museums, according to Aécio, is very important, because every popular thing brings the population closer to the Museum. “The people do not like to see the scholarly as scholarly. The people like to see the scholarly as the reach of the popular”, his last sentence about the preservation of the Pernambuco museums he loved so much. [...]

Recife, May 30, 2012.


sources consulted

AÉCIO de Oliveira. [Foto neste texto]. Acervo da Fundação Joaquim Nabuco.

AULA inaugural do bacharelado em Museologia será no dia 4 de agosto, Recife, 2011. Disponível em: < Acesso: 23 maio 2012.

JUCÁ, Joselice. Fundação Joaquim Nabuco: uma instituição de pesquisa e cultura na perspectiva do tempo. Recife: Fundaj, Ed. Massangana, 1991.

MELO, Alberto Cunha. Quem é quem? Aécio de Oliveira. Boletim Interno do IJNPS, Recife, n. 86, p. 23-28, out. 1972.

MOTA, Mauro. Cara e c’roa. Recife: IJNPS, 1974. 

NOTICIÁRIO geral - 1968. Boletim do Instituto Joaquim Nabuco de Pesquisas Sociais, Recife, n. 16-17, p. 236-237, 1969.

OLIVEIRA, Aécio de. Depoimentos de história oral. Recife, 18 e 22 ago. 1988; 2 fev. 1989. Entrevistadora: Joselice Jucá. Acervo Fundaj.

PEDRO, Arthur; MENESCAL, Vanessa; ANDREY, Marcus. Homenagem ao museólogo Aécio de Oliveira, Recife, maio 2012. Disponível em:  <>. Acesso em: 25maio 2012.

SILVA, Marcela de Kássia da. O último adeus ao arquiteto dos museus, Recife, 23  maio 2012. Disponível em:  <>. Acesso em 25 maio 2012.

how to quote this text

GASPAR, Lúcia. Aécio de Oliveira. In: PESQUISA Escolar. Recife: Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, 2012. Available from: Access on: dia mês ano. (Ex.: 6 ago. 2020.)