Museums in Quito are worth a visit, as they provide interesting information and facts about the history of both Quito, and Ecuador as a whole. The main museums of Quito include the Museo de la Ciudad, Museo Mena Caamano, La Capilla del Hombre, La Casa del Alabado, Banco Central and Convento de San Francisco, though there are others as well. Each of these museums in Quito offers a different perspective or view of Ecuador. Here you can learn much about Ecuador’s colonial history and culture. Here are some helpful facts about each of the main museums of Quito.
The Museo de la Ciudad is one of the main museums in Quito. It is set in a building that was in a former life, a hospital. The museum has displays which show what life was like in Quito in historic times. It is particularly insightful in how it depicts the Spanish conquest, and the impact that this had on people’s lives once the new Spanish rulers took hold. There are sections of the museum dedicated to pre-colonial times, the 16 th century, 17 th century, 18 th century and 19 th century. The museum also has some visiting exhibits. It opens 9am to 5pm most days, but it is shut on Mondays. You can find it in the old town at Garcia Moreno S1-47, near Rocafuerte.
Museo Mena Camano is a waxworks museum which illustrates many of the major events that happened in Quito in historical times. The museum is especially interesting for understanding the way in which the independence of Quito unfolded, and there is a scene which depicts an 1809 massacre. In addition to the waxworks there are many paintings, sculptures and other items. This museum is well worth a visit. It can be found at Pasaje Espejo and Garcia Moreno. It is open Tuesday to Sunday between 9am and 5pm.
La Capilla del Hombre is a very interesting museum in Quito to visit. The Capilla was designed by the painter Oswaldo Guayasamin, and work commenced on it in 1995. It was not finished until 2002, but this was after Guayasamin’s death. Some of the artwork of the artist can be seen in this Chapel, and the work here serves as a testament to human suffering. Only five minutes from here is the Fundacion Guayasamin, which has more of the artist’s pieces, including those about political oppression. La Capilla del Hombre is located at Mariano Calvache E18–94, Quito, in the Bellavista neighborhood. It is open daily 10am to 6pm.
Lovers of archaeology and historic relics will be drawn to Casa del Alabado, a museum of Pre-Columbian art, which can be found in the historic center of the city. More than 5,000 pieces are held here, and 10% of these are on display permanently. The pieces include both jewelry and ceramics. This important museum of Quito is organized around fascinating themes of life, such as shamans, and life after death. The museum is open daily between 9am and 5.30pm except on Wednesdays when it opens at 1.30pm. The address is Cuenca N1-41.
Banco Central is more fully known as the Museo Nacional del Banco Central del Ecuador. The museum charts the history of Ecuador, from ancient times through to modern artwork. Pieces from as early as 11,000 BC can be found here. Highlights include a Canari mummy, and a variety of gold masks. There is a section dedicated to colonial art, which is somewhat graphic, but very interesting indeed, and insightful about the period. The museum can be found on Patria between 6 de Diciembre and 12 de Octubre. It is open from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 4pm.
The Convento de San Francisco is right next to the Iglesia de San Francisco, and it houses an interesting museum, worthy of a stop. Within the convent you can see a lot of fascinating artwork. There are sculptures, paintings and furniture, most of which are well preserved. An interesting aspect of this visit is that if you stand in two separate corners and whisper it is possible to hear one another. This makes for a good side visit from the Iglesia de San Francisco. It is found at Cuenca 477 and Sucre. Opening hours are 7.30am to 12.30 from Monday through to Saturday, and 7am to noon on Sundays.
The museums mentioned in this article are in several cases not located very close by to one another, so you may want to consider getting a taxi between them or taking a day tour that includes them. Be sure to check opening hours in advance, as though they are listed here, they can change from time to time, and especially on public holidays.
We can offer a customized day tour of Quito to take you to some or all of the mentioned museums. Why not get in touch with Ecuador and Galapagos Insiders today to find out about tours we offer, and let us share our Ecuador expertise with you.