Earlier this month, a catastrophic fire tore through Brazil’s National Museum and destroyed a wealth of biodiversity and cultural artifacts. As curators and museum staff begin the painstaking work of sorting through the ashes, scientists across the globe are banding together in solidarity.

In a letter published in Science, two-dozen co-authors highlight the failure of the Brazilian government to invest in museum infrastructure and the critical role natural history collections play in advancing modern science. They also celebrate the collections that survived and valiant efforts already underway to rebuild. Finally, they call on governments and institutions worldwide to safeguard museum collections before suffering yet another irreplaceable loss.