23 years ago I first visited the Museo de Jade in its old location in the INS building. It quickly became my favorite museum in Costa Rica. I was blown away today when I visited the new location. WOW WOW WOW just WOW. I ran into a Costa Rican friend after I visited and said, "Where did they have all that stuff all those years?"
I've been to many of the top anthropology museums in Mexico, as well as the unbelievable Gold Museum in Bogota. This is on par, world class just like those. As others have mentioned, it is the largest jade collection in the world. There are great interactive exhibits for kids. I kind of followed a CR high school group to listen to their guide and the students seemed into it.
My favorite part was the section explaining the connection of the jade and pre-Colombian art to the rain forest, with its stunning floor to ceiling display of color. That whole floor was amazing. The life size dioramas, the explanation of chamanism was all really interesting.
I'm also glad that they have changed the old "adults" section into a more academic, "Gender and Sexuality" section. That is a section that may make you blush a bit. It is handled in mature way but I saw some parents whisk their kids away from the giant penises.
Some reviewers said it only took them a half an hour to see this. I'm wondering if they realized it was six floors of exhibits? I am excited that they have more space to grow and do special exhibits. It was well worth the entrance price.
I do agree, however, that more needs to be done with signage of the smaller displays. I've been to many great museums...the British Museum, most Smithsonians, the Louvre, the Prado, Tokpaki Palace and they all include descriptions with most individual items. I don't expect it for every little amulet. Some of the electronic displays weren't working well either. This is something that is fixable. I'm also hoping a museum guide becomes available as well. I'd really like to know more about the individual indigenous peoples. When the different languages were used in one exhibit, I wanted to know more about these peoples. When I did ask a few questions of the security people, they offered to call me a guide. I snapped pictures (no flash) and asked when I got back to the lobby on a few things. Most signs are bilingual English/Spanish.
Still overall, an excellent experience. Beautiful new building. I loved all the windows.
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