March 8, 2012

Museums in Quito

If you've read this blog when we were in Germany, you'll probably be well aware that we love museums. To recap, here's more about our museum adventures in Berlin, Nuremburg, Vienna, Istanbul, London, Jerusalem, Rome, Munich of course, and so many of the places we visited.

In Quito, we haven't been to that many museums. There's just so much culture to see and outdoors stuff to do that museums haven't been high on our list. But we decided to take a rainy weekend day to visit the museum of contemporary arts in Quito. To begin with, we had the hardest time finding the place within the Casa de la Cultura museum complex. I asked two people sitting at the info desk of Natural History museum and they had to resort to the internet to find it (even though I had directions to exactly where we were). Because of what they told us, we decided to give up on our search for that particular contemporary arts museum and check out the Casa de la Cultura itself. Well, when we entered into that building, the guard said we had to go to a different place and he gave us directions.

When we followed his directions, what did we see, but the museum we had been looking for at the start! And guess what? It was right next to the Natural History museum, literally the next door over. The girls at the info desk of the Natural History museum did not even know what the neighboring museum was! As you can see, I'm still amazed that they have jobs at the museum.

The man at the front desk was so nice - when he didn't have change for a $10 (our tickets were $4 total), he let us get in for the $2 that we scrapped together. Maybe he felt flustered because when we came in, the security guard was lounging out on the lobby sofas, half asleep.

They had two large rooms and several long hallway exhibits. In the first large room, the security guard in there had music blasting (it wasn't so loud, but it was loud for a museum). Thankfully, it wasn't pop Latin or salsa music. It was distracting. But even more distracting was how horribly lit the museum was - if you stood in front of a painting, your shadow would fall on it and you wouldn't be able to see any of the details of the painting. Very weird. You could see they were trying to put in these little LED lights, but they had hardly any wattage to them and basically they were wires sticking out of the ceiling. 

They did have some beautiful scenes of Ecuadorian indigenous people, musical instruments from all over the world, and costumes of various Ecuadorian indigenous folks in the museum. Greg and I both enjoyed it in the end, but it was a very different experience than the museums we've been to.

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