National Museum, Colombo
Housed in a fine colonial-era building on Albert Crescent, the
National Museum is the first public Museum to be established in
Sri Lanka (1877). It is the best known for its collection of
ancient royal regalia, Sinhalese artwork (carvings, sculptures and
so on), antique furniture, china, and Ola manuscripts. It includes
the national treasures and art facts from all parts of the island.
A section of the first floor houses the Puppetry and Children's
Museum. It also houses a library with a collection of about
500,000 books including very valuable and rare ones and more than
4,000 ancient palm leaf manuscripts. Open daily from 09.00 hrs to
17.00 hrs except on Fridays when it is closed to the public for
National Museum of Natural
The museum displays the natural heritage of Sri Lanka. The fauna
i.e. mammals and birds are displayed in dioramas. There are
sections on Applied Botany, Geology and Fossils and the Natural
Environment. In the Discovery Room one finds the mounted skeleton
of an elephant and a scale model in relief showing the topography
of a part of Sri Lanka. Open daily from 09.00 hrs to 17.00 hrs.
The Dutch Period Museum,
The old 'Dutch House' on Prince Street, Pettah (Colombo 11) which
houses this museum was built in the late 17th century and was
initially the residence of Count August Carl Van Ranzow along with
five other houses of the elite. Today, the sides of the street are
choc-a-block with boutiques and stores of Moslem traders. The
restoration of this building commenced in 1977 and was completed
in 1981. This museum was opened to the public in 1982. This
building embodies the unique architectural features of a colonial
Dutch town house. The museum while displaying the Dutch legacy
with the artifacts viz. furniture, ceramics, coins, arms etc.
portrays facets of contemporary life and culture. Open daily
except Fridays from 09.00 hrs to - 17.00 hrs.
Housed in the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall,
Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7, the museum contains photographs,
objects and documents portraying the life and times of the Prime
Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike. Visitors can listen to recordings
of some of his famous speeches. Open daily except Mondays and full
moon days from 09.00 hrs to 16.00 hrs.
The National Maritime
The museum is located within the Fort of Galle in a colonial Dutch
ware-house with imposing pillars. This museum displays the fauna
& flora of the sea and the environment. Artifacts consist of
preserved material and scale models of whales and fishes.
Generally, all the resources of the sea are covered in this
Museum. It also shows in diorama form with life size models, the
traditional methods of fishing. Some artifacts of under water
archaeology are on display. An interesting experiment is the
'walk-into-the sea' diorama, showing the natural coral beds, sea
grass beds and deep sea fishes. Finally, one leaves the museum
seeing the causes of sea pollution, coast erosion and methods used
to combat these problems. Open daily from 09.00 hrs - 17.00 hrs.
The Archaeological Department has established Archaeological Site
Museums in Anuradhapura (ancient city), Isurumuniya, Mihintale,
Veheragala, Vavuniya, Jaffna, Sigiriya, Kandy, Dedigama, Yapahuwa,
Panduwasnuwara, Kotte, Matara (Star-Fort), Deegavapiya and
Kataragama. Tourists may visit these museums free of charge but
taking photographs is not allowed unless a permit is obtained from
the Director General of Dept. of Archaeology. Notably, permits are
necessary to photograph monuments at certain Archaeological sites.
Archaeological museums are open daily from 08.00 hrs to 17.00 hrs
but closed on Tuesdays and some of them will be close on public
Gems Museum, Ratnapura
The National Museum of Ratnapura is housed in the famous Ehelapola
Walawwa on the Colombo Road in Ratnapura. The museum displays to a
great extent the prehistory of Sri Lanka. Ratnapura being famous
for gems, the process of gem-mining is displayed through a model.
Some of the artifacts displayed here, reflect the unique arts
& culture of the Sabaragamuwa Province. Open daily except
Fridays from 09.00 hrs - 17.00 hrs.
Folk Museum, Anuradhapura
Settling in the sacred city close to the Archaeological Museum,
the Folk Museum Anuradhapura has a collection of artifacts
illustrative of the rural life of the North Central Province. Open
daily except Thursdays & Fridays from 09.00 hrs - 17.00 hrs.
National Art Gallery
The National Art Gallery is located at 106 Ananda Coomaraswamy
Mawatha (Green Path), Colombo 7. It's opened from 9 am to 5 pm
daily except poya days. It caters largely to the conservative
taste in painting mostly portraits. There are also some temporary
exhibitions of Sri Lanka artists.