New museum stamp features butterfly, ball, metate

Correos de Costa Rica graphic This is the commemorative display that is being presented this morning.

The facade of the Bella Vista fortress, which is now the Museo Nacional, will dominate the design of a new commemorative stamp being issued today to mark the museum’s 125th birthday.

Correos de Costa Rica gave an advance look at the stamp Thursday. Actually the package is two stamps, each valued at 395 colons or about 79 cents. The twin stamps share a morpho butterfly representing the natural history found in the museum. Also partly on the stamps is one of those famous prehistoric stone balls from southwestern Costa Rica and an elaborate metate that pre-Columbian peoples used to grind corn and other grains.

The museum recently received a renovation, and the western face is now the primary entrance with access even for the disabled. It faces the Plaza de la Democracia.

The postal service is issuing 30,000 stamps with 500 of them on first-day covers much prized by collectors.

This is the first stamp issue for 2012.

Postal officials will be at the museum this morning to hold an official presentation. The stamps and the first-day covers are for sale at the main postal headquarters and also online at the Correos Web site.

Students from the Colegio Internacional Canadiense will be at the ceremony along with the Banda de Conciertos de San José. The postal service also put out a commemorative stamp in 1987 for the museum’s 100th birthday.

The museum structure is the former Bella Vista headquarters of the Costa Rican army. After the 1948 revolution and the abolition of the country’s military, the facility was turned into the site for the museum. The exterior walls still bear the pockmarks of bullets fired during the revolt that brought José María Figueres Ferrer to power.

The museum contains many of the famous stone balls, and officials are developing a museum specifically for the balls and related discoveries in Palmar Sur on the central Pacific coast. The museum is also offering an evening extravaganza tonight at the Plaza de la Democracia that was reported in A.M. Costa Rica Thursday.

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