The National Museum of Costa Rica (Museo Nacional) was founded on May 4th, 1887, at the time the President was Don Bernardo Soto and the Minister of Public Works Don Cleto González Víquez. This museum emerged in Costa Rica at a moment in which liberal ideas and principles of peace, progress and education material, characterized the society of 1880, where the laws related to education and the creation of cultural institutions prompted the birth of the museum. As an institution the museum belonged to the Development Ministry, to the University of Costa Rica and then again to the Education Ministry so that finally in the 1970s, became part of the Ministry of Culture and Youth.
The National Museum has occupied four different locations throughout its history. Three of these premises were demolished. Currently the museum is located next to the Plaza de la Democracia (Democracy Square) at the building of the Former Bellavista Barracks. This place is the product of a series of transformations of the house that built the German naturalist Alexander Von Frantzius in 1870 and in 1876 purchased the Costa Rican educator Don Mauro Fernández. The property was vacant from 1910 to 1914. In 1914 the government of Alfredo González Flores purchased it for the purpose of using it as barracks. In 1948 it stopped to serve as barracks, this is when the army was abolished as a permanent institution, and it became an education and cultural center, hosting since then The National Museum.
The National Museum is a cultural center for excellence. It’s walls protect the unalterable of the history of Costa Ricans, it not only teaches about the history of the nation, but also presents exhibitions of pre-Columbian art (pottery, stone, gold) and has a room with art from the colonial period, furniture and displays of natural history. Since its inception, the Museum promotes research projects in the areas of natural history, anthropology and Costa Rica’s history.
Address: on 17th street, between central and 2nd Avenues, in the Former Bellavista Barracks, district: Catedral, cantón: San José, province: San José, Costa Rica. Zone postal code: 10104.
GPS Coordinates: 9.932725,-84.071 (9°55’57.81″N, 84°04’15.60″W)
Schedule: from Tuesday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Phone: + (506) 2257-1433
Address map: Click here to view directions from Central Park, San Jose, Costa Rica TO the National Museum in San Jose, Costa Rica at Google Maps
The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum (Museo del Oro Precolombino) is part of the Museums of the Costa Rican Central Bank and is located beneath the Plaza de la Cultura (Culture Square) in San José. The museum houses an extraordinary collection of gold objects with over 1000 pre-Columbian artifacts that reflect the worldview, social structure, and jewelery from pre-Columbian people that lived in the actual Costa Rican territory.
The museum shows the use and function of parts, technology and the relationship with nature and everyday life of these human groups. The collection consists of over 1600 pre-Columbian gold pieces dating from the 500 to 1500 AD. The Gold Museum consists of two levels: introductory area on the second floor, which interprets the evolution of socio-cultural pre-Columbian cultures, which also exhibits the development of metallurgy in Costa Rica, stages and styles; and on the third floor the gold pieces exhibition area, where you can appreciate the different uses and meanings of gold objects. Visitors can also watch an introductory video to the collection.
Location: on 5th St., between central and 2nd avenues, adjacent to the Plaza de la Cultura, district: Catedral, canton: San José, province: San José, Costa Rica. Zone postal code: 10104.
GPS Coordinates: 9.933397,-84.076569 (9°56’00.23″N, 84°04’35.65″W)
Schedule: from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Phone: + (506) 2243-4202
Address map: Click here to view directions from Central Park, San Jose, Costa Rica TO the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum in San Jose, Costa Rica at Google Maps
The Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress opened in 2003 with the Museum for Peace headquartes in a strategic location in downtown San José. It occupies one side of the historic Plaza de la Democracia (Democracy Square), which is located between the Legislature and the National Museum, near to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, the National Park and the Supreme Court. La Plaza de la Democracia was built to commemorate simultaneously the first century of the democratic regime in Costa Rica and the Hemispheric Summit of Presidents held in 1989 by the then Costa Rican president Dr. Oscar Arias Sánchez, aiming to boost the regional peace process.
The Peace Museum (Museo para la Paz) has the general purpose to contribute to a culture of dialogue, consensus and reconciliation and focuses on the concept of peace not as the absence of armed conflict or violence, but as human progress, both, individual and collective, material and spiritual. It is open to the general public and researchers, in a two-story building that offers invaluable documentary on the Esquipulas II process of negotiation and peace agreements and its impact on local and international press.
On the first floor is an exhibition on the institutional trajectory of the Arias Foundation and its main objectives and achievements, and shows a replica of the Nobel Peace Prize medal awarded to Dr. Arias Sánchez. The cinema comprehends a photo essay on the Nobel awards centenary made by the renowned photographer Michelle Pelletier. The second floor is a museum exhibit that aims to reconstruct the history of Central America and the Peace Plan from an educational and informative approach accessible to visitors. The exhibition on the evolution of the peace process departs from the historical development of Central America and their geographical, social, political, economic and cultural rights, which ensures a comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon that triggered the military uprising and the civil war, as well as the belligerents actors and geopolitical conflict at the Cold War.
The museum covers the Central America history and focuses on the 1980′s and the political and military conflict in the region. In addition, the museum offers a guide for students and teachers to understand the peace process in Central America, which suffered decades of bitter experience from fratricidal wars. Various efforts were made to end armed conflicts: one of the first was the establishment of the so-called “Grupo de Contadora” (Accountant Group), composed in 1983 by México, Panamá, Colombia and Venezuela. This initiative prepared a draft agreement accepted by Nicaragua in 1984. This group was followed by the Support Group, formed by the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Perú and Uruguay.
In 1986 the meetings with the presidents from the region began and negotiations progressed until the momentous meeting in Guatemala City on August 7th, 1987, where the Esquipulas II agreement was signed, which triggered the peace process. Most of the documentary and historical materials of the Peace Museum are available now in digital format. Visitors and researchers can have access to a digital catalog of publications of the Arias Foundation and the Peace Plan available audiovisuals, as well as an electronic file about informative documents and the international press coverage of the Central American process.
Address: On 2nd Avenue, between 13th and 17th streets, district: Catedral, canton: San José, province: San José, Costa Rica. Zone postal code: 10104.
GPS Coordinates: 9.932556,-84.073086 (9°55’57.20″N, 84°04’23.11″W)
Schedule: from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Phone: + (506) 2257-5011
Address map: Click here to view directions from Central Park, San Jose, Costa Rica TO the Peace Museum in San Jose, Costa Rica at Google Maps