Visit the Museum of Popular Culture

Church in Barva
Church in Barva

There are many amazing places to see in Costa Rica and a large number of those frequently visited are located in the heart of the country in San Jose. However, visitors also venture out to Santa Lucia de Barva and Heredia to take in the Museum of Popular Culture. This destination hosts quite a few important artifacts pertinent to 19th century Costa Rica culture, customs and art. The entrance fee is only $2.00, so it is a trip worth making.

History of the Museum

Originally the home of former Costa Rican president, Alfredo Gonzalez Flores, the museum was established in 1995 by the country’s National University Social Sciences Faculty. They transformed the manor into a museum designed to educate Costa Rican residents and tourists about the country’s rich history.

Attractions to See

There are many interesting sights to see at the museum, including the House of Mud. This is a permanent exhibition designed to educate visitors about architecture in the 19th century that was commonly seen in the country’s central valley. This farmhouse was erected on a coffee plantation in 1885, out of wooden sticks, bamboo, timber and mud. The House of Mud contains furniture as well as many tools and household items that would have been used on such a plantation during that time period.

Surrounding the museum, you will find a small exotic garden. Tourists can leisurely ramble around the premises to see the different kinds of native vegetation. The rich colors of the flowers and plants will be sure to catch your eye.

Depending on the day you visit, you may find activities on the schedule that people of all ages can enjoy. The directors of the museum believe that children should have time outside to play instead of being cooped up inside all the time, and provides several outdoor activities to facilitate this. For instance, on some days, activities involve flying small paper kites, or papalotes.

The museum is also a great place to hold special events. There are rooms available for people to hold business meetings and a beautiful garden area for those who wish to hold their wedding ceremonies on the premises. There is also enough space for a wedding reception, so guests do not have to travel around the city to get from one event to the next.

To allow visitors to comfortably spend the entire day in and around the museum, there is an open-air restaurant that is adjacent to the main building. In keeping with the aesthetic of the rest of the museum, it serves traditional Costa Rican cuisine, such as tamales, which is a local favorite. The restaurant makes its own fresh tortillas daily, and periodically holds special workshops where attendees can learn how to make traditional Costa Rican tortillas.

Fun for All Ages

The museum is open on weekends, and provides a great opportunity for children, teenagers and adults to engage in Costa Rican culture. High school and college students can partake in a “Learning by Doing” workshop. Additionally, anyone can enjoy simply walking about and seeing the period fashions and beautiful Costa Rica art in the collection. Some of the festivities also include music and oral traditions, so take a look at the calendar to decide when you would like to visit.

The museum is located between Barva and Heredia and is open between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekends. Starting from the Musmanni bakery, travel 100 meters north and turn right, then go one kilometer east. There, you will see the signs and arrive at your destination. The Museum of Popular Culture is a fantastic way to learn all about Costa Rica culture in a fun, relaxing environment.

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