The National Museum of Colombo has the distinction of being the largest museum in Sri Lanka. Having undergone extensive refurbishment, the museum opened its doors to the public again earlier this year. The National Museum of Colombo is open from 9am to 5pm daily, except on Fridays and is accessible from most Colombo hotels. Those who wish to visit the museum should enquire from the concierge of the hotel they reside in and hotels such as Berjaya Hotel Colombo would expeditiously arrange a tour for them.
While the Department of National Museums currently maintains the premises, it was founded by Sir William Henry Gregory during the late 19th century. Established in 1877, the building to house the Museum was designed by J. G. Smith, the Architect of the Public Works Department who designed the building in an Italian architectural style. While it opened its doors to the public in the 19th century, the Museum was recognised as a ‘National’ museum only after 1940, during the period of Mr. P.E.P Deraniyagala.
The library of the Colombo Museum, which was also established in 1877, incorporated the Oriental Library of the Government, which unofficially operated as the national library in the country. Furthermore, the library holdings are extensive because a copy of every document ever printed in Sri Lanka had to be deposited in the holdings, by law. Accordingly, the library includes various documents ranging from those written on palm leaves, printed books, law reports, maps and drawings as well as government publications ranging from the Natural Sciences to literature.
In addition to the library holdings, the National Museum of Colombo also includes various collections ranging from ancient jewellery, frescoes, traditional masks, ceramics, and stone sculptures. The Museum has multiple entrances and can be accessed from both sides. In the event visitors wish to continue enhancing their knowledge, they can also choose to visit the Natural History Museum which is located behind the National Museum.
Fritzjames Stephen is a travel writer, who writes content based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life. Google+