Calle Larga 7-27 y Borrero.
This Museum is a historic restored house which belonged to the famous Ecuadorian poet, Remigio Crespo Toral.(1860-1939) He was a poet/writer; Deputy of the Province of Azuay; Rector of the University of Cuenca; and owner of the newspaper Correo del Azuay.
The majority of the house was likely built between 1910 and 1917. Of note is the exposed brick facade which demonstrated an era of novelty in Cuenca’s architecture at the beginning of the 20th century. It was the first building of its style and status in this area, subsequently giving rise to a handsome group of similar buildings, all in exposed brick.
In 1981 the City of Cuenca Building Institution acquired the house with some of the original furniture; highlighting such styles as Louis XVI, and Victorian, as well as other decorations such as lamps, curtains, art work, and mirrors. In 1987 The Central Bank of Ecuador funded the technical studies for the restoration of the building.
In his first (2005-2009) and second (2015-2019) administration, Cuenca’s Mayor Marcelo Cabrera Palacios, realized the importance of the Historic House. He initiated interventions to restore the architecture, ceilings, wallpaper and mural paintings. Thanks to these renovations, the Museum officially opened as a permanent fixture in Cuenca in 2017.
“In one of the staircases of the gardens of Dr. Crespo Toral” The beautiful gardens still contain mature magnolia and walnut trees. The lovely “Cafe del Museo” overlooks the Tomebomba Riverbanks.
In 1917 Remigio Crespo Toral was crowned as a National Poet.
In 1919 , together with Alfonso Moreno Mora, Dr. Toral founded the Fiesta de la Lira , a literary contest.
In 1917 the President of Ecuador, Doctor Alfredo Baquerizo Moreno awarded the Golden Crown, a symbol of national tribute to Crespo Toral.
The house was built in several stages and used as its base an old colonial construction inherited by the family in 1886. The ground floor was built first, and then a second floor was added around 1910. The bulding has two totally different facades. The main one is on Calle Larga in the historic center. The back entrance overlooks gardens and the Tomebamba River. The rooms are organized around a handsome staircase, linking the various five levels of the building.
“The death of Abel”. You can see this painting on the wall of some of the old photographs of the house.
There is a fine collection of jewelry and household items of the times.
With his wife Elvira, Dr. Toral had nine children. The museum houses a collection of photographs of the Crespo Toral family, and additionally collections of other master photgraphers of the time.
The archives of the History of Cuenca are located in the Remigio Crespo Toral House
Museum including all treaties, agreements, letters etc. about the construction of the city of Cuenca.
Among the museum’s collections are archaeological pieces collected in various areas of the Azuay province.There are approximately 28,000 pieces among which are pieces from ancestral, regional cultures and portraits from the 19th and 20th centuries.
(wearing a mask for coronavirus protection!)
I love this effect of using transparent screens of old photos in the restored rooms. It gives you the feeling of actually seeing the former residents living in the house.
The museum houses relics of the travels of Elia Liut, who was the first pilot to land in the city.
I moved to Cuenca in April 2017. The first weekend I was here there was a festive party for the grand opening of the restoration of the Casa Museo Remigio Crespo Toral. It was a lovely evening that I will always remember! For the opening reception there was a classical music concert in the auditorium, and a jazz band playing in the cafe in back.
Beautiful young Cuencana women were modeling time period clothing for the opening reception.
The museum currently has limited hours due to the coronavirus situation, but it is still open to the public, and free of charge.