The Fascinating Casa del Libro
If you are interested in the history of literature, Puerto Rico’s Casa Del Libro is perhaps one of the best museums for you to visit. Located inside a beautifully restored 18th century house, the museum is dedicated solely to the history and artistry of the printed word. It not only holds a number of amazing relics, but also carefully documents the printing and binding processes involved in the making of books. In a modern world where there is a strong tendency to choose electronic forms of the written word over good old fashioned books, a museum of this sort plays a very important role.
The Casa Del Libro is situated at 255 Calle Cristo in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. It houses an impressive collection of some 6000 pieces including quite a number of very rare volumes that are more than 500 years old. It also houses a clay fragment that is presumed to be a legal document which is more than 2000 years old. Apart from these artifacts, you will find a number of antique printing presses that help to document the labor intensive and time-consuming process which was initially used in the printing of books. The use of moveable type today would seem to be a waste of time in a world where technology has made everything in life so much faster but just a few centuries ago it was the at the fore-front of multiple document production. Viewing these printing presses helps one to understand just how far technology has come over the years. It also gives you new respect for early inventors. Some of the documents on display from the 15th and 16th century are embellished with fine sheets of metal to add color and value to the books they were in.
The Casa Del Libro was founded in 1955 by a society known as the Friends of Christ Street 255 Incorporated. It was their intention to create a library in which only the best examples of books and manuscripts over the ages would be found. In short, the museum would be dedicated to the history of the book and the best examples possible would be sought out to tell the story. Today access to the museum is free though a $2 donation is strongly suggested. It is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays between 11am and 4:30pm and makes for a great escape from the speeding passage of time.