Some Costa Rican History

Something that I think is really great about San José is that there are a number of museums that allow you to learn about Costa Rica. Some of these are the National Museum of Costa Rica, the Pre-Columbian Museum, the Kid’s Museum, the Museum of Natural Sciences, and the Jade Museum. Last week I had the chance to go to the Jade Museum, and here are some of the things that I learned while I was there!

The museum is called Jade Museum, or “Museo del Jade,” after the shiny gemstone Jade, which usually has a green color. The interesting part is that Jade wasn’t found in Costa Rica, but people actually traveled long distances to bring Jade back to Costa Rica. Jade is so beautiful, and was used to create stunning art, small figures, and even jewelry. I really enjoyed looking at the historical art pieces because they were so beautiful and detailed, but it was also very interesting because a lot of the jewelry that was made back then would be considered stylish today! It was shocking to see that the style of jewelry from around as early as 1000 B.C. can be seen in 2019. Of course, it was not exactly the same, but definitely had similarities to jewelry I see today. (Another fun fact is that there are so many people that sell homemade jewelry in Costa Rica, especially when you travel near beaches or go to a market!)

Other parts of the museum that fascinated me were the statues of people that were made to look like indigenous people of Costa Rica and people from Costa Rica’s history. This really brought the history to life. On each floor there were sections where you could read about the culture, for example about war, warriors, shamans, indigenous people, roles of communities, meanings of certain art, gifts, and their rituals and beliefs.

The last exhibit on the top floor of the Jade Museum had thousands of clay art work. This clay art work included vases, bowls, and pottery of many different shapes and sizes. I was amazed at how old some of the artwork was when looking at the dates that they were made. From talking to people at the museum I learned that all of these pieces of art have been found by Costa Rican families or passed down in generations, and this museum became a way to preserve the culture and history of Costa Ricans. If you come to San José and are interested in learning about Costa Rican history definitely don’t miss out on the chance to go to the museums!

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