The old building of the Casa de La Culture features temporary exhibits by Ecuadorian artists. it was established in 1944 by presidential order and has featured the best of Ecuadorian art ever since that time.
Museo Numismático is housed in a building where Banco Central del Ecuador once was housed. It is a museum over different currencies used in Ecuador, from early times when grains and shells where used, to the Sucre and high inflation rates, and the change to US dollars.
Admission for foreigners was $1 (August 2013).
The museum is open 9 – 17 on Tuesday – Friday and 10 – 16 on Saturday – Sunday.
The Museum and Monastery Santa Catalina is situated in the corner of Flores and Espejo in Centro Histórico. The monastery was founded already in 1592 and has since then been restored many times because of earthquakes. The nuns here produce natural products like hand cream, shampoo, jam, wine and medicine. I have not tried any of their products.
I visited the museum and was asked if I wanted to look around on my own or with a guide (which is included in the admission). I chose to walk around alone, but as there were no other visitors there a woman went ahead of me opening the rooms and turning on the light. At the museum there are religious sculptures, paintings and textiles from the 17th and 18th century, and there are relics and personal objects of the assassinated president Gabriel Garcia Moreno. His remains were kept at the monastery for many years before it could be buried in the Cathedral.
Admission was $1.50 (July 2013).
The church is only open for mass at 9.00 on Sundays.
Casa del Alabado is housed in an old colonial house built in 1671, just half a block from Plaza San Francisco. It is a small beautiful museum displaying artwork from the pre-Colombian time. At Casa del Alabado you will not find the objects displayed in a chronological order but they are grouped by theme and the material they are made of.
The first time I visited Quito (in 2011) I didn’t know of this lovely museum because it was not opened until April 2010 and thus not in my guidebook. I’m lucky I got to know about it before my next visit to Quito.
Admission was $4 (June 2012).
The museum is open 9 – 17.30 on Monday – Saturday, and 10 – 16 on Sundays.
There is a store attached to the museum.
Mindalae is an ethno historical craft museum where there are exhibitions spread out on five floors. In the museum collection there are ethnic clothing, music instruments, ceramics, jewelry, utensils made of wood and fibers and many other artifacts from different regions of Ecuador.
Admission was $3 (June 2012).
The museum is open on Monday – Friday between 9 – 18, and on Saturdays and holidays between 10 – 17.30.
There is a museum shop and there is also a café, Coffee Tree, in the same building.
Museo Amazónico is a small but good museum showing items from different cultures in the Amazonas region. In the museum you can see beautiful feather headdresses, pottery, jewelry, spears, baskets, music instruments, a dugout canoe, stuffed animals and even real shrunken heads. On the walls there are also photographs showing the oil exploration in the area and its impact on the environment.
When I visited I was the only visitor.
Admission for foreigners was $2 (August 2012).
The museum is open on Monday – Friday between 8.30 – 12.30 and 14 – 17.
La Florida Burial Chambers are situated in the neighbourhood La Florida in northern Quito. On this site ten burial chambers, 15 – 17 metres deep have been excavated. They date from 200 – 680 AD and they are of the Quito people who lived in this area. In one burial chamber replicas of 16 bodies have been put down together with replicas of ritual objects found in the tombs.
There is a small adjacent museum where many of the objects found in the burial chambers are on display. There are pottery, jewelry, gold objects, keys, pieces of textiles and more. And there are some beautiful spondylus shell ponchos, ponchos which were only worn by “important” people.
The museum was inaugurated in July 2009.
Admission is free and includes guiding.
La Florida Burial Chambers are open on Wednesday – Sunday, between 8 – 16.
This is another interesting site in Quito worth a visit that is not mentioned in any of my guidebooks. To go to La Florida Burial Chambers I took the metrobus to the stop La Florida and from there I walked. It is a quite long walk uphill, through the residential neighbourhood La Florida. I walked up Avenida La Florida, crossed Avenida Occidental and then continued up along Antonio Roman, until Antonio Costas where Museo de Sitio La Florida is situated. It was a walk that took almost 40 minutes.
The Rumipamba Archaeological Park was not mentioned in any of my guidebooks, but I saw it on the map of Quito that I had got from the Tourist Office, so I decided to go there and have a look.
I took the metrobus to San Gabriel and walked Mariana de Jesus up to Avenida Occidental where the entrance to the park is situated. I did not know what to expect, but came to a green path leading downhill. I didn’t see any other people and remember wondering how safe it was to be alone in the park. Then a guard came walking towards me and took me to a group that had just started a guided tour around the park.
In this area there are traces mostly of the Quitus culture and they show that people have been living here during different periods between 1500BC – 1500AD. There are traces of homes and tombs, there is a colunco (Coluncos are the old mountain paths made by the Yumbo people along the ancient trade routes. They are narrow and deep and often covered by vegetation, which protected the trade’s men from the strong sun.) and part of an Inca wall. Lots of pottery has been found in the area. The archaeological excavation of the area is still going on.
During the guided tour (which was in Spanish) we were also shown medical plants and native plants of the area.
The park covers 32 hectares. In a building some of the pottery found in this site is exhibited.
Admission was free ((July 2012).
The Archaeological Park is open on Wednesday – Sunday between 8.30 – 16.30.
Museo Alberto Mena Caamaño is situated in Centro Cultural Metropolitano. When I visited Quito in 2011 I couldn’t find it but when I was in Quito on August 2 in 2012 I decided to visit, as the 2nd of August is a special day to visit this museum.
For some time during the colonial era the building was used as army barracks and in 1809 a group of revolutionaries, fighting for freedom, was imprisoned here. One year later, on the 2nd of August 1810 they were killed.
Admission to the museum is usually $1.50 (August 2012), but on the second of August there is no admission, except that you have to buy a rose. The roses are sold outside the entrance for $0.25.Inside there were guided tours, and as there were many visitors this day the group was big. The tour started in a courtyard where everyone put down their rose by a fountain in honor of the massacred freedom fighters.
The group was taken around in the museum, with one group ahead, and another coming after. At some places there were students telling things from Quito’s history and in other rooms among wax dolls there were actors this day, also talking about the history of Quito.
In the end of the tour the group was heading for Monasterio de San Agustin to see the crypt where freedom fighters are buried. It is only open on the 2nd of August, but as I had visited it on my own before coming to the museum, I left the tour here.
The museum is named after its biggest donor, Albero Mena Caamaño who donated a large collection of paintings and sculptures to the museum, mainly colonial art.
The museum is open between 9 – 17.30 on Tuesday – Saturday and between 10 – 13.30 on Sundays.
Centro de Arte Contemporaneo is situated in the neighbourhood San Juan, in a large building which once was a military hospital. The museum is quite new as it opened up in the end of 2010. Since then there has been many temporary exhibitions here, both by national and international artists. When I visited there was a photo exhibition with photos from Galapagos Islands “Galapagos Surreal” one exhibition where technology met art. There were also lots of activities going on with artisans selling their products and a performance.
Admission was free (August 2012).
The cultural centre is open between 9 – 17.30 on Tuesday – Sunday.
There is a small café in the building.
María Augusta Urrutía (1901 – 1987) was a wealthy philanthropist who lived in this house a large part of last century. The house where Maria Augusta lived was built in the 19th century and her home is very well preserved, and looks very much like it did when she lived there. The home is full of furniture and artwork from different periods, much imported from Europe. There is also a good collection of paintings by the Ecuadorian artist Victor Mideros. There are also a few courtyards.
It is not allowed to take photos inside the museum. They wanted me to leave my bag in a cupboard by the reception, but I was not keen on leaving my bag with camera and money there so I could bring it inside, but promised not to take any photos.
Admission was $2 (June 2012) and that also includes a guided tour of the house. Mine was in Spanish, but I think that sometimes you can also get the tour in English.
The museum is open between 10 – 17.30 on Tuesday – Sunday.
The Ecuadorian painter Camilo Egas (1889 – 1962) came from Quito. He studied art in Europe and later moved to New York. The Museo Camilo Egas is situated in a beautiful restored house from the colonial era and here you can see paintings from his different phases.
Camilo Egas is mostly famous for his paintings of the daily life and traditions of the Ecuadorian indigenous people, and there are a few beautiful of these ones in the museum. In the museum there are also paintings from his other phases; expressionism, surrealism, cubism and abstract paintings.
The museum is open between 9 – 13 on Tuesday – Friday.
There is no admission to the museum (August 2012).