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26 October 2012 / leggypeggy

Visit to philanthropist’s house in Quito

Casa Museo María Augusta Urrutia

Central courtyard

We spent almost a week in Quito, Ecuador, so had plenty of time to explore some of the lesser-known touristic sights. That’s how we happened to come upon the Casa Museo María Augusta Urrutia on a weekend morning when most of the city is out and about being seen.

This 19th century mansion belonged to Maria August Urruita, a well-known Ecuadorian philanthropist who focused on helping the poor, especially children and their families.

Casa Museo María Augusta Urrutia

Upstairs terrace

Born to a wealthy family in 1901, Doña Maria married young and became a young widow. The mansion, which had belonged to her husband, was put to good use after his death as a place for feeding and schooling the young poor. Doña Maria also continued to live there alone with 24 servants until her death in 1987.

Guided tours are now offered around the house, with an admission of about $2 person. Many rooms remain virtually untouched, and provide a fascinating glimpse of how Quito’s upper classes lived in the 20th century.

Casa Museo María Augusta Urrutia

The guide said the blossoms of this unusual plant die if anyone touches them

We saw the kitchen, with a huge old German range and lots of copper pots; the dining room, crammed with crystal chandeliers, French china, silver tea services and other family heirlooms; the grand drawing room, with fancy gilded furniture imported from Europe; as well as Doña Maria’s bedroom and that of her maid. Interestingly, the maid’s bedroom is the larger and more lavishly furnished.

The bathroom was closed for repairs (the ceiling is falling), but it is said to have beautiful hand-painted glass and fittings imported from England.

Photos were allowed only in the courtyards.

Fundación Mariana de Jesús, the charity founded by Doña Maria in the 1930s, owns the house now. The organisation strives to alleviate poverty in Quito.

8 Comments

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  1. David York / Oct 26 2012 5:27 pm

    Lovely, Peggy! Nice find!

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    • leggypeggy / Oct 26 2012 10:37 pm

      We were pleased too, Dave. Very low-key from the outside, and hard to get a nice pic of the entrance because of the weekend crowds. 🙂

      Like

  2. mickeydownunder1 / Oct 26 2012 7:46 pm

    Another great gem you and Poor John have discovered, TRUE!
    I was curious about what other parts looked like too!
    So headed over to Google, and other rooms did appear…YOU not take photos when you are not allowed to? lol (joking)
    Hope you enjoy too!

    https://www.google.com.au/search?q=Casa+Museo+Mar%C3%ADa+Augusta+Urrutia&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=JT1&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvnso&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=JE2KUM7yEIrmrAeOloG4DA&ved=0CEsQsAQ&biw=1440&bih=734

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    • leggypeggy / Oct 26 2012 10:25 pm

      HI Joanne
      Thanks for the link. The rooms are so lovely. I do sometimes take ‘sneaky’ photos—took one yesterday—but I try to post only photos I’ve taken or ones from someone in my overland group. 🙂

      Like

  3. duonyte / Oct 27 2012 1:14 am

    Caught up with your posts, Peggy – so appreciate being able to travel vicariously through you, what with my John having mobility issues, so we are rather limited in options. Looking forward to the next installments!

    duonyte

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    • leggypeggy / Oct 27 2012 5:27 am

      Thanks duonyte. So glad you are enjoying the journey. Plenty more instalments coming. 🙂

      Like

  4. Brian Lageose / Aug 25 2016 9:37 am

    She had 24 servants? What the hell did she need DONE on a daily basis? Anyway, another fascinating house discovery, and now I’m off to visit the link…

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Aug 25 2016 3:41 pm

      I can see having 24 servants when you’re looking after the young poor, but on your own? Maybe she forgot to sack them, or maybe they had become like family.

      Liked by 1 person

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