Museo Nacional de Costa Rica
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History of the National Museum

Origin of the National Museum

The National Museum saw the light by the end of the XIX century, encouraged by the liberal project of “order and progress” that reorganized national culture by means of changes in education and the development of institutions with cultural and scientific purposes, such as, precisely, the National Museum.

On May 4, 1887, with Mr. Bernardo Soto as President of the Republic, the National Museum was created with the intention to provide the country with a public establishment to deposit, classify, and study natural and artistic products.

Since the very first years, the Museum focused on scientific investigation, education, exhibition, and defense of the cultural and natural heritage. Figures such as Anastasio Alfaro, Enrique Pittier, Pablo Biolley, Jose Castulo Zeledon, Adolfo Tonduz, Maria Fernandez de Tinoco, and Jose Fidel Tristan were crucial in the beginnings of the institution.

With over one hundred years of existence, it has dwelled in four different buildings. The first three of them are already demolished.

  • From 1887 to 1896 it was settled in the building of the Universidad de Santo Tomas.
  • From 1896 to 1903 it took the gardens of the Labrynth to the south of San Jose .
  • From 1903 to 1949 it used the former building of the Liceo de Costa Rica, currently housing the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social (national social security institution).
  • Since 1950 until today, the National Museum 's home are the facilities of the former Bellavista Headquarters.
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