Museum Tells Brazil's Story in 10,000 Voices
Oral history project offers unadulterated look at sprawling nation
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2009 9:43 AM CDT
Barack Obama greets Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Saturday, March 14, 2009. Lula is one of more than 10,000 contributors to an oral history museum in Sao Paulo.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – Most historical museums focus on the rich and powerful, but in sprawling Sao Paulo, an uncommon museum tells the story of Brazil from the perspective of more than 10,000 ordinary citizens. The Museum of the Person gathers the stories of a barber, a coconut breaker, a convicted felon, and thousands more in an oral history that offers new perspectives on the largest country in South America, reports the Wall Street Journal.

While many American oral history museums present "gussied up" stories, said one academic, the Sao Paulo museum offers surprisingly raw narratives. They can certainly be grim: One metalworker tells of how his father was "very, very bad," offering food to dogs instead of his sister. The man telling the story? Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva—who went on to become president of Brazil.