Las Conceptas Museum - Superb Art in an 18th Century Monastery
What used to be an eighteenth century monastery is today the Las Conceptas Museum, or Museo de Monasterio de las Conceptas. The building has been beautifully conserved and the original building materials - such as the brick floors and the pillars, window frames and doors that are made from a coarse wood - still adorn the structure. According to the records the construction of the Las Conceptas Museum started in 1682, but the monastery was only completed in 1729. During the 1800’s, other structures were added, such as the infirmary that was built in the year 1875. Fortunately, the Museo de Monasterio de las Conceptas survived the years in relatively good condition and renovations to open the monastery as a museum started in 1982. On 3 November 1986 the museum opened its doors to the public. It is now a favorite amongst the attractions in Ecuador and many tourists flock to the museum each year.
The colonial structured Ecuadorian museum is home to a vast amount of paintings, sculptures, artifacts, crafts and furniture. Most of the art on exhibition dates back to 1830 and the museum also features a spectacular collection of musical instruments that were used in the colonial and the pre-Columbian times. Each room from the old monastery has been transformed into breathtaking exhibition halls and art galleries. The religious art section was placed in the nun’s room, where a rare collection of Gaspar Sangurima's crafted crucifixes are on display.
In addition to the artworks, there is educational information relating to the lives of the Nuns of the Conception, audio-visual displays, crafts and temporary exhibitions. The permanent exhibitions that are located in each room each have a different theme attached to it. For example: angels, saints, furniture, toys and figurines, miniatures and glasswork and porcelain. Photographic displays and other mediums depict the history of the monastery and of the museum.
The Las Conceptas Museum gives visitors a rare opportunity to the insights of the past, religion and the extraordinary talents of artists that came before us. Of all the attractions in Ecuador the Museo de Monasterio de las Conceptas does not only display wonderful, visual pieces of history, but has history embedded in its walls and floors too.