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After Rio museum fire, questions about cause, what survived

RIO DE JANEIRO — Forensic investigators and researchers awaited access Tuesday to the National Museum of Rio de Janeiro, gutted in a fire, to find out how the blaze began and what remains of the 20 million artifacts that made the museum one of the most important in Latin America.

After a fire tore through the museum Sunday, engineers were doing tests on the structure to make sure it wouldn’t collapse. Authorities expressed concern Monday that internal walls and parts of the roof were weak.

The museum held a huge collection of historical and scientific artifacts, and officials suggested the damage could be catastrophic.

The cause of the fire was not known. But protesters said years of government neglect had left the museum so underfunded that its staff had turn to crowdfunding sites.