The Jade Museum

This museum is called simply the Jade Museum, is a historic, cultural and archaeological museum located in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, it is a modern five-story building, located to the West of the Plaza de la Democracia. This Museum preserves an archaeological collection, this consists of a wide range of ceramic, bone, wood, shell and stone as statuary, metates, hands grinding artifacts and others, however, its main attraction is the huge number of archaeological pieces made with semi-precious stones, known as jade. In the 1970s the National Insurance Institute, in a situation of tireless Quakerism and commercialization of archaeological objects, inside and outside the national territory; this institute acquired privileges from artifacts of collectors on purchase and rarely by donation, this supported the decrees where it is authorized to the autonomous institutions to acquire Costa Rican archaeological pieces to keep them in custody and display in the Museum in order to avoid that they leave the country as well as prohibit trade and export of archaeological objects, by individuals and private or State institutions. The INS had made of his collection of pre-Columbian objects with around 7000 pieces of various materials such as jade, ceramic, stone, gold, shell, wood, resin, bone and others. In 1980, the Board of Directors of the INS approved the regulations governing the Administration and management of the Jade Museum, which aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • To promote the scientific study in the archaeological field.
  • Keep part of the artistic and archaeological heritage of the country.
  • To stimulate the artistic development in the field of Visual Arts.
  • To serve as organ of cultural projection of the Institute to the community.

The Jade Museum is given the task of promoting research projects, in order to know, as far as possible, the context of its collections through the Association of objects excavated scientifically. These investigations have dabbled in fields such as: the anthropological, archaeological, the geological, the artistic and the etnomusical. The Jade Museum, through its thirty-eight years of operation has allowed thousands of national and foreign visitors to visit their showrooms, having the opportunity to admire one of the richest American Institutional Collections. The variety of its collection, consisting of four collections; archeology, art and ethnography; It reflects one of the objectives of the INS, to generate a social contribution, through registration, documentation and exhibition display. For more than a quarter century, cultural heritage guarding the museum has served as Costa Rican ambassador, as part of international exhibitions shown in different cities of America, Europe and Asia. The high quality of the art collection is reflected, for example, the significant amount of works of the most renowned Costa Rican artists, representatives of various periods of national artistic production, which in many instances were provided on loan for display and research. Jade Museum has 6,889 archaeological pieces, of which the largest is the ceramic. 2500 has jade objects, what constitutes the world?s largest. There are also many objects of stone, gold, shell and bone, and a baton made of wood. In addition, Jade Museum exhibition is divided into six rooms according to historical and archaeological features; where artifacts are based on issues related to human, natural and temporary scenario that characterized the lifestyle and social, technological, cultural and artistic development of the pre-Columbian peoples who inhabited the present territory of Costa Rica.

The Jade Museum

  • Umbral: This room is located on the first floor of the museum, in this room you can see a mural painting work of Costa Rican painter César Valverde Vega, besides; a block of jade rough, which is the icon of the new Museum. This space presents the cultural and ecological scenario where Costa Rican pre-Columbian societies who worked the jade were developed.
  • Jade: this room discusses the process and origin of jade; in this second level you can see a map which presents the pre-Columbian trade routes by which the stone was traded.
  • El Día: this room you will find it on the third floor, this gives emphasis to highlight related activities every day of the people, their relationship with the natural environment, as well as the representations of animals in jade, stone, ceramics and other materials. A review of the activities related to the obtaining of food by hunting, fishing and agriculture.
  • La Noche: also located on the third floor, this room deals with issues related to the underworld, night and cultural beliefs, as well as the symbolic significance of animals sacred as the bat and the owl. It addresses the issue of the war, the rituals of burial, and in general, the cosmogonic vision and world of these cultures.
  • Ancestral Memory: this room on the fourth floor appreciates the importance of archeology through an interactive area. Pre-Columbian costumes, the type of music and its meaning, the technology used for the development of tools and utensils, and sexual diversity and gender roles and traditions inherited from the Indians that still remain are also shown in Costa Rica.
  • Collection can be visited: located on the fifth floor, in this room is protected objects of different materials, from three different archaeological regions of the country: Gran Nicoya; Central, Central and Atlantic Pacific region; and Diquis.

The exhibition is completed with three-dimensional resources, which allow visitors to see different scenes from pre-Columbian times, the catalog of objects and know their characteristics in more detail. Currently it considered the Jade Museum an important promoter of Costa Rican culture. In the Jade Museum, you can enjoy many facilities such as:

  • Access Facilities
  • Accessible Bathrooms
  • Auditorium
  • Shop
  • Wardrobe
  • Reception area for large groups
  • Cafeteria
  • Classrooms Workshop
  • Permanent and temporary exhibitions
  • Workshops / Courses
  • Publications
  • Volunteering
  • Guided visits
  • Didactic materials
  • Souvenirs
  • Internships
  • Cultural events

The Jade Museum is a gem in San Jose that you can?t miss when you visit the capital of Costa Rica, please don?t forget to visit our museums, and thus get to know a part of our history.

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