The Pumapongo Museum is a free museum dedicated to the development of Ecuador in general and a lot of information about the indigenous people as well. The museum has a main building as well as partially excavated grounds directly behind the museum. There is a small area for live birds on display too.
Not only is there no charge to go into the museum, I never even saw a donation box!
There are wonderful small dioramas showing life for the indigenous and early settlers. They are so detailed that they even show plants growing on the roof of a house…something that you do see sometimes even today.
Most of the museum is only in Spanish which we can read mas or menos (somewhat) but occasionally there was English.
There is a section of money. Originally things from nature were used as money, shells and such. Later coins and then later paper money were used. Starting in 1830, the Peso was used. The Franco was used from 1856-1871. Then they used the Peso again until 1884 when the Sucre was used until 2000 when they went to using the United States dollar because the sucre had been so devalued.
Today although we mostly see paper bills of $5 to $20 and the presidential dollar coins as well as other US coins, there are still occasional Ecuador coins that we receive in change, but not often.
The archeological site has ruins from the Inca Kanari civilization. I couldn’t find much online about the museum and archeological site (guess that is the down side of a free museum) but I did find this. If you are interested in more, you can do an online search and find bits and pieces about the area.
In the lower section there is an area of sacred corn that was planted as well as information on various medicinal plants and other plants which are used in the area.
There was a final area with a few birds in cages. Not all of them were named. The two most interesting to me were this blueish/greenish bird (unnamed) and Black Chested Buzzard Eagles which are much larger than they appear in this picture.