Museum of Archaeology and Loja Culture

The Museo de Arqueología y Lojanidad is a bit like the TARDIS time travel machine of Dr. Who - appearances are deceiving and it definitely seems "bigger on the inside." More than just a museum of old artifacts, it's front gallery space is continually revolving with assorted exhibitions depicting art and other cultural aspects of life in Loja.

Opened to the public in 2004, there is a collection of original pre-Hispanic tools and utensils numbering 1600 pieces which are typical of the area encompassed by the city and province of Loja. However, only a few hundred items are on display at any given time.

The excerpt in the video below gives a quick overview of what can be had - petroglyphs, early examples of pottery (domestic and religious), bone objects, and jewelry are on display. Everything is well lit, and quite a few cases allow one to walk around and view objects from different points. The museum is spread over three floors and these are connected by a wide spiral staircase which is an easy climb.

There is good signage (in Spanish) to explain what is being viewed. If you don't feel your Spanish will be sufficient to decipher the signs or to ask questions of the museum curator then you might want to hire a bilingual guide to go with you.

An added benefit when at the museum is the nearby university cafeteria where an inexpensive and nutritious meal can be had while enjoying the view from a covered dining area. It is also very worthwhile to stroll around the campus and view the murals and exterior building decorations that replicate area petroglyphs. Be sure to poke your head into the front lobby of the administration building to see stained glass windows and marquetry paneling on the walls, and also get a peek into the chapel for more artistic decor. There is even a university gift shop worth checking out.

The museum is located on the UTPL - Universidad Tecnica Particular de Loja - campus, just inside the main entrance on the left. There are no city bus lines nearby so access is easiest by taxi (tell them to take you to the university). The taxi will drop you at the gate and then you make the short walk onto the campus to the museum.

The museum is open weekdays (Monday to Friday) from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm, and again from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Admission is free.


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