Ecuadorian Philanthropist Maria Augusta Urrutia
The Casa-Museo Maria Augusta Urrutia is a museum dedicated to the memory of aristocratic philanthropist Maria Augusta Urrutia who was born in Quito on December 6, 1901, and dedicated her life, and her resources, to the service of people in need. Visitors to this beautiful 19th century building will see a home that has essentially remained unchanged since Doña María Augusta lived there. Beautiful furnishings, hand-painted wall paper, stained-glass windows, hand-crafted tiles and finishes, as well as a permanent exhibition of artworks, primarily by Ecuadorian artists Victor Mideros, are all treasures to be discovered in this interesting museum.
Born into an influential family in Quito, Maria Augusta Urrutia was orphaned at the age of three and inherited estates in Machachi and Quito. She received early schooling in Quito before traveling to Europe where she became fluent in several languages. In 1921, at the age of 20, she married Alfredo Escudero Eguiguren and they settled into the mansion which now houses the museum. The couple had no children, and following the death of her husband in 1931, Maria Augusta immersed herself in charitable work, turning an area of the house into a dining room and play center for street children.
In 1939 Dona Maria created the Fundacion Mariana de Jesus, a charitable foundation which continues its work to this day. The foundation also cares for the Casa-Museo Maria Augusta Urrutia. She donated several of her properties to the foundation, one of which became the Solanda housing estate for homeless people, another being used to build the San Gabriel Jesuit High School and a third for the building of the Seminary. Her properties in Machachi were donated to the Jesuits and revenues from her remaining estates went into the work being carried out by the foundation she started.
In 1982 Maria Augusta Urrutia was honored by President Osvaldo Hurtado for her good works and generosity, the results of which are still being enjoyed by her fellow Ecuadorians today. She passed away on December 5, 1987, leaving behind a noble and lasting legacy.