The Costa Rica National Museum

The Costa Rica National Museum is located in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. This museum was created on May 4, 1887 during the administration of President Bernardo Soto Alfaro. The National Museum is located in the old "Cuartel Bellavista"; this was a barracks which was transferred to the museum when the army was abolished. On December 1, 1948 it ceased to serve as barracks, when the abolition of the army was decreed later, when the museum took possession of the place, in 1950, the spaces were changed to be used as showrooms. The Museum currently offers several services including exhibition halls, workshops, talks, guided tours and informational materials, among others. Since its early years, the Museum was oriented towards scientific research, education, exhibition and protection of cultural and natural heritage. Its origins include figures such as Anastasio Alfaro, Henri Pittier, Pablo Biolley, José Cástulo Zeledón, Adolfo Tonduz María Fernández de Tinoco y José Fidel Tristán, among others. In this museum you will find:

The Costa Rica National Museum

Precolombina History

This museum holds more than 800 objects, such as arrowheads, metates, pottery, burials, necklaces, and other artifacts of personal and ceremonial decoration; made of materials such as ceramic, stone, gold, jade and bone. Here you can see the life way of the ancient cultures in a chronological journey, from the twelve thousand years BC until the arrival of the Spaniards, 1,500 years AD, showing part of the economic changes, socio-political and religious which occurred in societies that inhabited the territory.

Indigenous Gold

This room shows the indigenous spiritual vision by gold and the techniques that were used in the production of parts. In this room you can find animal representations, shamans miniature figures and objects of personal decoration and distinction of rank are displayed.

The Patria History

It presents a synthesis of the development of Costa Rica, since the arrival of the Spaniards until today. Photographs, drawings and historical objects recall the colonial era, independence, social and economic contribution of coffee, bananas and railway, among other topics.

Colonial House

This space recreates the bedroom and dining room of a colonial house. The original structure is a house in Guanacaste province.

Barracks Museum

In this room are the former cells of the barracks, with the marks written by the same prisoners during the 1940s; the baths and health services used by the troops are also.

Commanders House

An exhibition in themselves, these two houses architectural heritage rescue the beauty of the San José city. They were built between late 19th century and early 20th. In the course of these years they were occupied for various purposes and its original architecture was used on multiple occasions.

Temporary Exhibition Halls

The National Museum has three rooms for temporary exhibitions, which give rise to projects of diverse subjects such as painting, sculpture, history and biodiversity, among others. The National Museum has a variety of collections such as natural history, archaeology and history as a result of the research projects and donations. In addition, the areas of research and collections management provide special services for students and researchers, including:

Department of Natural History

  • Guided tours of the collections for organized groups.
  • Consultation material collections for researchers.
  • Consultation with specialists on botany, entomology (insects), ornithology (birds), mammalogy (mammals) and geology (fossils, rocks, minerals).
  • Support to identify botanical, zoological and geological material.

Heritage Protection Department.

  • Care of complaints by trade, transfer or export of movable archaeological property.
  • Surveys (verification of the authenticity of items and assessment) at the request of the judicial authorities or State institutions.
  • Authorizations for the export of pre-Columbian reproductions and modern crafts.
  • Professional and technical consultancy in the field of the national archaeological heritage in case of repatriation, alternate dispute resolution and issuance of specialized criteria.
  • Registration of private archaeological collections, as well as the procedures of Public Registry of National Archaeological Heritage.

Anthropology and History department

  • This area attends complaints by destruction of archaeological sites.
  • This department is in charge of legal experts in cases of destruction or alteration of archaeological sites.
  • Consultations to the file of archaeological, anthropological and historical investigations.
  • Consultations to the base of archeological sites (features, plans, reports, photographs and collections associated).

Regional and Community Museums Program

  • Support, technical and legal advice to museums during the process of creation, development and/or operation of the same.
  • Adviser in the development and / or design graphic material and institutional image.
  • Training related to Museum activities or topics related to museology and cultural heritage of our country.

The Costa Rica National Museum has many attractions that will make your visit very enriching, and so will know part of our history, if you visit San Jose, do not forget to go through this museum...

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