The museum was established by banker Nahim Isaias Barquet to contribute to artistic and cultural activities in Guayaquil as General manager of Filanbanco.
The museum aims to disseminate colonial art since Isaias studied in the Colonial Art School of Quito. He gathered a collection of valuable art pieces, specially paintings and sculptures, from the famous Colonial Art School of Quito, which comprises approximately 2.500 works that currently belong to the Central Bank.
It was inaugurated on June 25, 1989 and later, on June 20, 1996; the Museum extended the exhibition to archeology acquiring valuable pieces that belonged to the main cultures that inhabited the coastal regions of the country. The first permanent exhibition was the one denominated “Pre-Hispanic cultures of the Ecuadorian Coast”.
Due to the economic crisis that affected the country in 2000, during which several financial institutions were closed, the collection of the Museum was handed to the Central Bank of Ecuador as payment. The Museum remained closed until September 30, 2004 when it opened its door again.
A collection of 2500 pieces, especially paintings and sculptures from the famous Colonial Art School of Quito. There is also a valuable collection of modern and contemporary art that comprises paintings and sculptures.
The museum is divided in three floors. The ground floor and the first floor houses the Room for Temporary and Itinerant Exhibitions, and a permanent display of Cosmogonies is exhibited in the third floor, which is dedicated to colonial art.