New museum construction irks the merchants nearby

Work has begun on a new museum in downtown San José, and vendors who maintain stalls near the site are not happy.

The Instituto Nacional de Seguros, the state insurance firm, confirmed that there was a demonstration Thursday by merchants who say the workers are intruding into their space. The insurance firm denied this.

The project is for the new Museo de Jade, which has been housed in the headquarters of the insurance firm on Avenida 7. The new site is west of the Plaza de la Democracia between Avenida Primera and Avenida Segunda.

This also is the location of the artisans market that is visited heavily by tourists. The market actually is on a closed city street that runs north and south at the west end of the plaza. The stalls have been there for years, and the merchants all are legal with sales tax licenses and business permits issued by the city.

The new museum is adjacent to what is now the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress. In all the job is $9.8 million, according to the insurance institute.

The new museum is opposite the Museo Nacional, which is on the east side of the plaza, and will contain many of the same items that are found in the Museos de Banco Central at Plaza de la Cultura.

The insurance institute said that museum officials expect to show some 6,881 pieces when the job is done in 2013.

Jade has a religious significance among some of the pre-Columbian peoples in Costa Rica. But the museum, which is now on the first floor of the insurance headquarters, has much more. A lot of the collection was gathered by amateur archaeologist before Costa Rica made prior cultures a priority.

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