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Blumenau, Brazil

Fritz Müller Ecology Museum

This small Brazilian museum honors the work of a German biologist who studied the jungles for decades. 

The “Museu de Ecologia Fritz Müller” is located in the former house of the German biologist Johann Friedrich Theodor Müller (31 March 1821 – 21 May 1897), in the German-founded city of Blumenau.

Located among the lush jungles of Brazil, the former home of biologist Müller is filled with specimens, writings and artifacts from his pioneering studies. The home itself is a restored colonial era half-timbered cottage. Here Müller studied the natural history of the Atlantic forest, a work that would see him live in Brazil until he died.

As an early advocate of the theory of evolution, Müller was a correspondent of both Ernest Haeckel and Charles Darwin, and the natural biological phenomena of “Müllerian mimicry” is named after him.

The permanent exhibition includes his personal objects and scientific tools, taxidermy animals (some of them now extinct), preserved insects, fossils and petrified wood, native plant specimens, and a section with utensils and costumes from the Xokleng tribe of Native Americans. The museum complex also houses a garden and a library specializing in biological and ecological studies with over 10,000 titles. 

The Fritz Müller Ecology Museum gives a unique insight into a bit of biological history that is not often discussed, but is nonetheless integral to our understanding of the natural world.