Museums in Sri Lanka.

Museums in Sri Lanka offer a rich insight in to the history and evolution of Sri Lanka as one of the most distinctive countries in the world. As in any other place in the world, one gets to know all about the past of a country through the exhibits housed in the museums. In a way museums are place to get enlightened about a country's heritage. Speaking of heritage, Sri Lanka undoubtedly has several areas of tourist attractions.

The museums in the country are dedicated to different themes, or rather the exhibits displayed make us delve deeper in to the relation of sea and the country or the life and times of a past prime minister or the significance of the archaeological findings. You must not forget to pay a visit to the Bandaranaike Museum which houses some important displays on the life and times of this prime minister who met his end when he was tragically assassinated. Bandaranaike was undoubtedly one of the most noteworthy prime ministers of the country and shaped the path of Sri Lanka's destiny to some extent. You can listen to some of his speeches which are available in the museum. To understand the close relation between Sri Lanka and the sea, explore the National Maritime Museum. Here the exhibits are truly amazing. This museum is located near the old gate of Galle Fort. Exhibits on Maritime trading, fishing and sea life are all displayed here. You can get an idea of what the ships that were wrecked carried with them. Another very interesting place or museum to visit is Galle National Museum. It is in the center of Galle Fort and has a good collection of the weaponry as well as native handicrafts or arts. All the museums in Sri Lanka are for the common man, the curious tourist or the serious student of that particular discipline.
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Museums Highlights

National Museum, Colombo

It is the oldest and largest Museum in the country, established in 1877. Housed in a fine colonial-era building, the museum is famous for collection of ancient royal regalia, Sinhalese artwork (carvings, sculptures et al.), antique furniture, china, and Ola manuscripts. The museum contains: more than 4.000 palm leaf manuscripts; ancient and medieval jewelry; rare collection of traditional masks; wood and ivory carvings; temple frescoes; ceramics objects including VOC plates of the Dutch period; stone sculpture and lithic inscriptions. The museum is open daily from 09.00 hrs to 17.00 hrs except on Fridays.
National Museum, Colombo

National Museum of Natural History, Colombo

It is located in the same premises as the National Museum. This museum depicts natural heritage of Sri Lanka. It displays birds, mammals, reptiles, sea-mammals, insects, botanical plants, gems and geological specimens of Sri Lanka. The museum is Open daily from 09.00 hrs to 17.00 hrs.
National Museum of Natural History, Colombo

The Dutch Period Museum, Colombo

The museum is housed in the old `Dutch House' on Prince Street, Pettah, which was earlier the residence of Count August Carl Van Ranzow. The museum displays Dutch legacy through artifacts such as furniture, ceramics, coins, arms etc. The museum is open daily from 09.00 hrs to 17.00 hrs except on Fridays.
The Dutch Period Museum, Colombo

Bandaranaike Museum, Colombo

The museum contains photographs, objects and documents of former Prime Minister Mr. S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike who was assassinated in 1959.
Bandaranaike Museum, Colombo

The National Maritime Museum, Galle

The museum is housed in an old Dutch building in the historic fort of Galle. It has on display objects connected with marine biology and botany and also some beautiful diagrams showing local fishing methods, natural coral beds, sea grass beds and deep sea fishes. The museum is open daily from 09.00 hrs to 17.00 hrs.
The National Maritime Museum, Galle

Koggala Folk Museum

Koggala Folk Museum presents a rare collection of folk implements and appliances from different parts of the island. The items are arranged under twenty five different categories representing handicrafts, folk art and music, cottage industries, agriculture, folk medicine, costumes, religion etc. This museum erected as a tribute to Martin Wickramasinghe, the doyen of Sinhala writers is Ginpathaliya in Kggala, the birthplace of the late writer that had once been the playing field of young Wickramasinghe.
Koggala Folk Museum

Mask Museum, Ambalagonda

 Galle district, Ambalagonda houses a large collection of masks used in exorcism rituals in the area
Mask Museum, Ambalagonda

Dutch Museum, Galle

For a peep into life in the days of the Dutch East India Company, look into this small museum at 31 Leynbaan Street. Housed in a restored Dutch mansion of the time, it contains paintings, prints, documents, furniture and ceramics from the Dutch colonial era.
Dutch Museum, Galle

National Museum, Kandy

Situated behind the Temple of the Tooth, in a building of historical and architectural interest. Its collections are all of the Kandyan period in the 17th-18th Century.
Closed on Fridays & Saturdays / Tel: 08 223867
National Museum, Kandy

Gemmological and National Museum, Rathnapura

At Getangama on the outskirts of town, this privately run museum and showroom offers a wide range of stones for sale, and you can also watch the raw stones being cut and polished. Open 09:00-17:30 daily.
Gemmological and National Museum, Rathnapura

Ehelepola Museum, Rathnapura

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 artefacts displayed here, reflect the unique arts & culture of the Sabaragamuwa Province. Open daily except Fridays from 0900 Hrs - 1700 Hrs.
Ehelepola Museum, Rathnapura

Monument to Rajah, Kandy

To the north of the Maligawa complex facing Natha Devale is the mausoleum of Rajah, the most devout servant of the Maligawa. Rajah, the Maligawa tusker that carried the relic casket in the annual Esala Perahera for 50 years from 1937 to 1987 died in 1988. But the majestic tusker still stands gracefully in still life inside the building with an extended lease of life given by local taxidermists bringing nostalgic memories to those who have seen it carrying the casket in the perahera. Visit to the mausoleum is a tribute paid to the dead tusker .
Monument to Rajah, Kandy

Archaelogical Museum, Panduwasnuwara

The Department of Archaeology maintains archaeological museums at Panduwasnuwara. -open daily - closed on Tuesdays and some of them will be close on public holidays too.
Archaelogical Museum, Panduwasnuwara

Sri Dalada Museum, Kandy

The latest institution added to the Dalada Shrine is the ` Sri Dalada Museum '.Ever since the Tooth Relic shrine was established in Kandy, different grades of visitors and devotees, ranging from the Roylty and Heads of States to the poorest of the general public, have been offering various gifts to the Sacred Tooth Relic, and these were preciously protected in specially built store-rooms by the successive line of Diyawadana Nilames.

On the initiative of the present Diyawadana Nilame, Neranjan Wijeratne, it was decided that these valuable artifacts be made available for public display. On the invitation of the Diyawadana Nilame , the Museum has now been beautifully designed and organized by Prof.Leelananda Prematilleke, the Archaeological Director of the UNESCO-Sri Lanka Project of the Cultural Triangle, together with his team of officers.

THE DALADA MUSEUM is located on the first and the second floors of the new wing called the Alut Maligawa set up by one of the past Diyawadana Nilemes, T.B.Nugawela. The display on the first floor consists of historical records from the time when the Tooth Relic was brought to Sri Lanka to the time of the British rule, the 1765 Dutch Plan of the Palace Complex, Lists of the Chief Prelates of the two monastic establishments of Malwatta and Asgiriya, who were responsible for the protection of the Tooth Relic, Lists of Kandyan Kings and the portrait busts and lists of the long line of Diyawadana Nilames, the Royal garments of king Kirti Sri Rajasimha, the Pingo used by the king in the Buddha- puja service, and the most recent discoveries of mural remains that were exposed due to the bomb blast caused by Tamil Tigers in January 1998. The photographic display includes some of the important sites where the sacred Tooth Relic was enshrined through the centuries and a large array of pictures depicting the immeasurable damage caused to the Dalada maligava due to the bomb blast.

Among the items on view on the second floor are historical artifacts used in the daily ritual ceremonies of the Tooth Relic shrine, caskets, Buddha statues and typical Kandyan gold and silver jewellery studded with precious gem stones, all donated by the devotees. Also on view on this floor are some special exhibits of great historical and religious value. These include
(a) The silver water pot offered by king Kirti Sri Rajasimha
(b) Silver hanging lamp offered by king Rajadhi Rajasimha,
(c) The painted replica of Buddha's Foot Print sent by king Borom Kot of Thailand when he sent some monks to establish the Higher Ordination on Sinhala monks headed by Venerable Walivita Saranankara ( who became Sangharaja subsequently)
(d) The unique Relic Casket containing bodily relics of the great Thera Moggliputta who headed The Third Dhamma Council held by Emperor Asoka in the 3rd century BC, etc. Other significant exhibits include ancient flags, coins, carved ivory tusks donated by Burma, commemorative carved plaques, etc. A visit to this grandest display would evidently provide an insight into the splendor that was Kandyan Heritage, her Culture and the Arts.
Sri Dalada Museum, Kandy

Museum at Mihintale

On the road leading to the main stairway is a modest museum containing some of the archaeological finds made at Mihintale, such as bronze figurines, shards of pottery, fragments of frescoes, and hospital tubs. In addition, there is a magnificent 9th century gold-plated ola leaf manuscript.
Museum at Mihintale

Tea Museum at Hantane

A joint project by the Sri Lanka Tea Board and the Planters' Association of Sri Lanka

Built in 1925, the spacious four storied Hantane Tea Factory, had been abondoned for more than a decade when it was earmarked for the Museum Project undertaken by the Sri Lanka Tea Board and the Planters' Association of Ceylon. Today it stands as a proud monument to the success story taht is Ceylon Tea.

The Hantane tea factory is located three miles from Kandy. It is served by a motorable road that circles the factory providing easy access. Kandy is a mandatory stop on virtually every tourist itinerary, and the location of Ceylon Tea Museum at Hantane makes sound economic sense. It will also enhance the attraction of hill country to visitors. Additionally its proximity to the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens and Loolecondra, where tea was grown commercially, make Hantane the perfect location. The factory building consists of four floors. The ground accommodate heavy machinery; the first floor occupies some examples in the withering process. Library and the Audio-visual presentations in the second floor whilst the sales outlets are found in the third floor. The fourth floor is to be converted to a deluxe restaurant.

Although exhibits are not abundant they do provide a valuable insight into how tea was manufactured in the early days. Old machinery, some dating back more than a century, has been lovingly restored to working order. The first exhibit that greets visitors in the Engine Room on the ground floor of the museum is the Ruston and Hornsby developed diesel and other liquid fuel engines, power for the estates were obtained by water driven turbines.

Museum's "Rolling Room" offers a glimpse into the development of manufacturing techniques with its fascinating collection of rollers. Here the showpiece is the manually operated ' Little Giant Tea Roller'.
Open on all days from: 8.15 a.m. to 4.45 p.m.
Tea Museum at Hantane

Weera Puran Appu Museum, Moratuwa

Housed at Weera Puran Appu Vidyalaya, New Galle Road, Moratuwa. This museum exhibits items in relation to the life and times of this great hero who fought the British against unfair levy of taxes and injustice and laid down his life in defence of the country.
Weera Puran Appu Museum, Moratuwa

Mahahunupitiya Walisinghe Harischandra Museum, Negombo

Walisinghe Harischandra was regarded as a national hero lived in the 19th century. He was active in educating the Sri Lankan of the value of their cultural heritage at a time when most of the people blindly imitating the western way of life. The museum houses some furniture and the other articles belonged to Walisinghe Harischandra and objects of traditional arts and crafts.
Mahahunupitiya Walisinghe Harischandra Museum, Negombo

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.
Folk Museum, Anuradhapura

Polonnaruwa Visitor Information Centre and Museum

Built with the help of the Dutch government, this centre, on the banks of the lake, uses designer displays, detailed descriptive texts and a five-minute video presentation to complement its collection of archaeological finds. With a huge scale model of the site, it brings Polonnaruwa's palaces and temples to life, and it is well worth visiting before you set out to explore the complex.
Polonnaruwa Visitor Information Centre and Museum

Archaeological Museum, Polonnaruwa

The Department of Archaeology maintains archaeological museum at Polnnaruwa. open daily - closed on Tuesdays and some of them will be close on public holidays too.
Archaeological Museum, Polonnaruwa

Tea Museum at Hantane

A joint project by the Sri Lanka Tea Board and the Planters' Association of Sri Lanka

Built in 1925, the spacious four storied Hantane Tea Factory, had been abondoned for more than a decade when it was earmarked for the Museum Project undertaken by the Sri Lanka Tea Board and the Planters' Association of Ceylon. Today it stands as a proud monument to the success story taht is Ceylon Tea.

The Hantane tea factory is located three miles from Kandy. It is served by a motorable road that circles the factory providing easy access. Kandy is a mandatory stop on virtually every tourist itinerary, and the location of Ceylon Tea Museum at Hantane makes sound economic sense. It will also enhance the attraction of hill country to visitors. Additionally its proximity to the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens and Loolecondra, where tea was grown commercially, make Hantane the perfect location. The factory building consists of four floors. The ground accommodate heavy machinery; the first floor occupies some examples in the withering process. Library and the Audio-visual presentations in the second floor whilst the sales outlets are found in the third floor. The fourth floor is to be converted to a deluxe restaurant.

Although exhibits are not abundant they do provide a valuable insight into how tea was manufactured in the early days. Old machinery, some dating back more than a century, has been lovingly restored to working order. The first exhibit that greets visitors in the Engine Room on the ground floor of the museum is the Ruston and Hornsby developed diesel and other liquid fuel engines, power for the estates were obtained by water driven turbines.

Museum's "Rolling Room" offers a glimpse into the development of manufacturing techniques with its fascinating collection of rollers. Here the showpiece is the manually operated ' Little Giant Tea Roller'.
Open on all days from: 8.15 a.m. to 4.45 p.m.
Tea Museum at Hantane
References
http://www.asiarooms.com/travel-guide/sri-lanka/museums-in-sri-lanka/index.html

Map of Museums

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