For the International Council of Museums (ICOM, 2001) A museum is "a permanent, non-profit institution at the service of society and its development, open to the public and which acquires, preserves, investigates, disseminates and exposes material witness of man and his environment, for education and enjoyment of society. " Plácido Cidade Nuvens Paleontology Museum linked to the Regional University of Cariri URCA was created to safeguard the fossiliferous heritage of the Araripe Basin.
The idealization of the creation of this museum by its founder was to "stop the unleashed sangria that is the trafficking of fossils in the Region of the Araripe Basin". It is not redundant to say that the most depleted fossiliferous region in the world was the Araripe Basin. National and international institutions, as well as private collectors, have for decades had fossils from the Araripe Basin as their target. Nowadays, awareness campaigns of the local populations are carried out by Araripe Geopark.
Since 1997, through the implementation of the Paleontological Complex of Araripe Plateau, the Museum has become a propeller of paleontological research, in the dissemination of science and in support of the Cariri culture. Also, through the Nucleus of Technological Diffusion, the museum regularly offers courses, trainings, meetings, lectures and represents a logistical support point for researchers from all over the world. The Museum also has a specialized bibliographical collection (Geology, Biology, Paleontology, Chemistry, Physics, among others), scientific exchange center, video library and audiovisual resources.
The Paleontology Museum of URCA in Santana do Cariri maintains permanent fossil excavation projects throughout the Araripe Basin, as well as systematic collection of fossils on the fronts of excavations of laminated limestone in the municipalities of Nova Olinda and Santana do Cariri. This program is the main tool against clandestine exploration and trafficking of fossils in the region.
Currently the Museum is the basis of research by Dr. Renan Bantin (Brazil) and Xin Cheng (China) Pterosaur experts.
The museum has four exhibition rooms.
The upper part houses the permanent exhibition of fossils. In this gallery fossils are divided by plant and animal species. There are about 300 pieces that demonstrate the diversity and the fossiliferous richness of the Araripe Plateau.
Plácido Cidade Nuvens Memorial features a timeline that traces a parallel between the history of the Museum since its founding and the professional trajectory of its founder, Professor Plácido Cidade Nuvens.
The interior hall of the Museum houses the temporary exhibitions. Currently presenting the Fossilis project. In this exhibition we have works of 12 Cariri artists, who carried out their works inspired by the natural, geological, paleontological and cultural richness of the Araripe Plateau.
The fourth exhibition space is the ludic territory, in which there are some sculptures inspired by the pterosaurs and dinosaurs of the Cretaceous. In this room we also have the paleontology laboratory, library, shop and the museum cafe.