The Museo Nacional plans to open an exhibition Wednesday to display pre-Colombian pieces that have been recovered from private hands and even from the garbage.
The welcome home exhibition runs until October. The 90 pieces include ceramics, jade and stone. The exhibition is called “El retorno de lo nuestro.”
The museum said that each of the pieces have a long history relating to their recovery. Costa Rican consulates were key players in some recoveries, the museum said.
Under Costa Rican law, such items belong to the government even if they are found on private property. Some pieces were confiscated from person leaving the country.
A metate, a small table for grinding grain, turned up in a garbage container perhaps because the holder was afraid of legal repercussions, said the museum.
Museum officials have been in the news confiscating archaeological objects from private homes. Many Costa Rican homeowners have family collections, and some pre-date the law giving the government possession.
Objects were obtained in Houston, Texas, Tucson, Arizona, Washington, D.C., Miami, Florida, Los Angeles, California, Canada, Spain, France and Italy, the museum said.
Even though some pieces have been in museum hands for some time, none has been exhibited previously, the announcement said. Some are very large, it added.
The more spectacular pieces probably are the product of the Guanacaste culture where the descendants of pre-Colombian residents continue to make ceramics for export. They use many of the same molds and clay deposits that have been used for centuries.
Costa Rican ceramics were used in the Mayan and Valley of México cultures.
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. Admission for Costa Ricans is 1,500 colons, about $3. Foreigners pay $8. Sunday is a free day for Costa Ricans and legal residents, the museum noted.