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981 pre-Columbian pieces are back in Costa Rica
November 09, 2011

The National Museum is the scenery of the exhibit “Back Home” of the 152 archaeological pieces that were returned from the Museum of Brooklyn in New York, since September 20th.


If you would like to have more information, you can visit the website of the National Museum of Costa Rica

Who was Minor Keith?

The businessman Minor Cooper Keith, known for bringing the railway to our country, was born in Brooklyn, New York. Son of a wood merchant, his mother was Emily Meiggs, sister of the train builder Henry Meiggs.

It was precisely this uncle who invited Keith to Costa Rica to work in the railway. However, Keith took his uncle’s place because he died before the construction of the railway was finished.

In 1882, the Costa Rican Government couldn’t pay for the construction of the railway. Keith took over the project along with other investors, who paid for the works in exchange for 3.200 km2 of land and a leasing on the railway for 99 years.

Keith used this extensive territory to plant bananas. Later this man shared his business with the firm Boston Fruit Company, resulting in the United Fruit Company.

Minor Keith married Cristina Castro Fernandez in our country, daughter of Jose Maria Castro Madriz, and died at the age of 81 in New York.



981 pre-Columbian pieces were brought back to Costa Rica after being more than 100 years abroad. From them, 152 that come from the Museum of Brooklyn, in New York, from the Minor Keith collection, and are exhibited in the National Museum.

Back Home” is the name of this exhibit you can visit until January 2012, from Tuesday to Saturday from 8:30am to 4:30pm and Sundays from 9:00am to 4:30pm.

According to information provided by the press department of the National Museum, this exhibit, besides being the first one mounted in the new temporary west exhibit room, tells the history of these pieces for them to come back to Costa Rica, makes emphasis in the figure of Minor Keith and collecting, the negotiation with the Museum of Brooklyn, the repatriation and unpacking process and the importance of the place Las Mercedes, from where most of the pieces come from, as well as recent researches that have taken place in this site.

In March 2010, the National Museum was aware of the interest of the Museum of Brooklyn in returning to Costa Rica most part of the 4.000 pre-Columbian objects that it sheltered, part of the Keith collection.

The recovering of pre-Columbian objects through repatriation is a practice that allows knowing part of the material culture of pre-Columbian societies.

The exhibit costs ¢1.500 (around $3) for local visitors and is free for children under 12 years old, students with ID and senior citizens.


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