History of the Museum

The largest museum in Latin America

Although designed in 1967 to be the headquarters of the Institute of Education of Paraná, the main building that now houses the MON began to be used to host some state departments as soon as it opened in the 1970s.

In 2000, negotiations began to transform the space into an art museum, under the administration of then-governor Jaime Lerner.

In 2001, 23 years after its inauguration, the State authorities decided to transform the generous area into a museum, and, on November 22, 2002, the building stopped being the headquarters of State secretariats and became the, initially named, NovoMuseu (New Museum).

The building underwent adaptations and gained an annex, popularly called the Eye (due to its architectural shape), both designed by the renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.

Today, it is considered the largest museum in Latin America, with approximately 35 thousand square meters of built area.

Museum under construction Credit: Nanis Gois
Museum under construction Credit: Nanis Gois

Awards and recognitions


MON won the TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Award, by being among the select group of the 10% best attractions in the world. The rating is based on ratings given by the spontaneous audience over the last 12 months. 


The “Arte para Maiores” (Art for Seniors) program was selected and prominently presented to the working groups of the 1st National Meeting on Museum Education, promoted by the Brazilian Institute of Museums (Ibram), in the state of Bahia. 


The “Arte para Maiores” (Art for Seniors) program, which seeks to provide conditions for participants to have a broader view and more knowledge about visual arts, was awarded the “Prêmio Darcy Ribeiro”, one of the most important national awards in the field of museum educational programs.


TripAdvisor visitors ranked MON among the top 25 museums in South America and among the top 10 in Brazil, ranking eighth and fifth respectively.


MON was chosen as one of the ten museums in Brazil to be integrate the ultimate travel list by the tourism website Pure Viagem, alongside the Museu Imperial, in Rio de Janeiro, the Instituto Inhotim, in Minas Gerais, the Pinacoteca do Estado of São Paulo and the Institutp Ricardo Brennand, in Recife, among others.


It was chosen as one of the 20 most beautiful places in Brazil by the American news network CNN.

For several consecutive years, MON has featured in the world ranking of the most visited exhibitions, organized annually by the English magazine The Art Newspaper.

Oscar Niemeyer

Life and death

Oscar Niemeyer, one of the biggest names in international modern architecture, was born in Rio de Janeiro, on December 15, 1907, and died on December 5, 2012, at the age of 104.

He has produced more than 600 architectural projects around the world and is one of the most recognized representatives of modern architecture. He was the architect appointed to bring the Eye Annex to life and make MON a work of art in its own right.

The plans for the Museum, authored by Oscar Niemeyer, combine straight and curved lines, concrete and green areas, neutral and bright colors.

In the 1940s, Niemeyer created the Pampulha Architectural Complex, in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, commissioned by mayor Juscelino Kubitschek, built between 1942 and 1944: the Pampulha Casino, the Casa do Baile (Ball House) and the Church of São Francisco de Assis or Igreja da Pampulha (Church of Pampulha).

In the 1950s, buildings were constructed that would definitively include Niemeyer in the history of national architecture and make him internationally known: the first buildings in Brasília, such as the National Congress, the Alvorada Palace, the Three Powers Plaza, and the Cathedral.

His style spread around the world and, in 1965, in France, he designed the Headquarters of the French Communist Party. Subsequently, other significant works were added, such as Mondadori Group, in Milan, Italy, and the University Houari-Boumediene, in Algiers, Algeria.

In Brazil, in 1980, Oscar Niemeyer paid tribute to his friend from the time when Brasília was being built, Juscelino Kubitschek, with the construction of the JK Memorial. Nine years later, it was the turn of the Latin American Memorial, a landmark in São Paulo that celebrates Latin-American ties.

In 1994, he also became the architect of spaces dedicated to art, such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Niterói (RJ), and again of democratic spaces, such as the headquarters of the OAB (Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil – Brazilian Bar Association), in Brasília, in 1998.

The Eye Annex Building

In 2002, an annex was built in Curitiba, popularly called “Olho” (Eye), along with another building by the architect, giving way to the Museu Oscar Niemeyer.