Six free museums in Quito
Are you a museum fan? In addition to the city tour of Colonial Quito, which we can customize to your interests, here are six fascinating museums that you can visit on your own if you have that extra day in Quito. The best part: entry is free! Also, some of them open on Mondays, yey!
1. Camilo Egas Museum
Located in old town in a renovated colonial house, this art museum features the best works by Ecuadorian painter Camilo Egas (1899-1962). Egas is best known for his pro-indigenous art called indigenismo in Spanish, an art movement that intended to reinvindicate indigenous culture and traditions in the 1920s. He painted indigenous festivals and even nudes, which was considered provocative and unusual. He lived abroad for many years and even became the Director of Art at the New School of Social Research in New York. His works illustrate different social realities, including the Great Depression, as an act of social protest.
Address: Venezuela N9-02 y Esmeraldas
Opening hours: Tue-Fri 08h30 – 17h00 / Sat 10h00 – 16h00
More info here.
2. Kingman Gallery
This art gallery in the trendy La Mariscal neighborhood houses the work of Eduardo Kingman (1913-1997). Born in the southern town of Loja and sin of an American father and Ecuadorian mother, Kingman was a painter, muralist and social activist. His work focused on social issues, particularly in relation to the indigenous population. He was a founding member of the Cultural House of Ecuador (Casa de la Cultural Ecuatoriana), Director of the Museum of Colonial Art, and did many exhibitions both locally and abroad, supporting young artists, too.
Address: Juan Rodríguez y Av. 6 de Diciembre
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10h00 – 13h00
More info here.
3. La Circasiana
The Palace of the Circassian, called simply La Circasiana by the locals, is currently the headquarters of the National Heritage Institute. But before the state purchased this neoclassic Republican building, it belonged to a wealthy Quiteño family: Jijón-Larrea. Its construction began in 1890, during the government of liberal President Eloy Alfaro, characterized by urban planning and growth. The building was the last station of the tram, which was inaugurated in 1914 and ran from the current Trole bus stop to Chimbacalle in the then southern end of the city. The decoration of the different rooms is quite stunning, with paintings by José Pinto and Juan Manosalvas, as well as the gardens with marble statues.
Fun Fact: The Arch at El Ejido Park was once the entrance to the Palace’s gardens. It was designed by sculptor Luis Mideros and finished in 1940. This grandiose gate was bestowed to the city and moved in the 1980s as part of the extension of one of the city’s main avenues.
Address: Av. Colón y Av. 10 de Agosto, corner
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 08h00 – 16h00
Guided visits: 09h00-11h00-14h00-15h00.
4. Pasillo Museum
This newly opened museum showcases the traditional music of Ecuador, particularly the pasillo, a type of sad, romantic song with poetic lyrics. One of the most famous singers and composers in this genre was Julio Jaramillo (1935-1978), born in Guayaquil, whose songs are still very popular across generations of Ecuadorians, and especially a favorite for karaoke nights! If you are a music fan and want to learn more about local instruments, local tunes or even take a music lesson, this is the museum for you. Cultural events, including concerts, are organized regularly.
Address: García Moreno N2-04 y Bolívar
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 09h00 – 16h00
More info here.
5. MuNa (National Museum)
The National Museum of Ecuador reopened in 2018 with a different conceptual exhibition that is not structured in the traditional linear display, following timelines, but more focused on the influence of culture in the economy, politics and history of Ecuador. The two main themes – power and politics, and economy and territory – analyze different time periods, from Pre-hispanic to Colonial and Republican, looking at how people interacted with their environment and social reality.
Address: Av. Patria y Av. 6 de Diciembre
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 09h00 – 18h00
More info here.
6. Weilbauer Museum
This archaeological display is housed inside the Cultural Center of the Catholic University of Ecuador. Spouses Eugene and Hilde Weilbauer donated their private collection, hence the museum’s name, and father Pedro Porras contributed with his research. The exhibition consists of 1,731 pieces, dating from the Preceramic Period (10,000 BC – 3,600 BC) to the Integration Period (500 AD – 1,532 AD), or just before the Spaniards arrived. There are photographs of scientific research and a library, too.
Address: Av. 12 de Octubre 1076 y Roca
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 09h00 – 18h00