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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Museums in Sri Lanka - A dose of the island's illustrious history
Joanna James Joanna James
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Museums in Sri Lanka - A dose of the island's illustrious history

Sri Lanka has several interesting museums scattered about the island. These will provide great insight into the history and nature of the island.


The Colombo Dutch Museum

Located in the busy town of Pettah, within the city of Colombo, the Dutch Period Museum is housed in one of the best-preserved 12th century colonial buildings in the area. There are numerous exhibits from the Dutch colonial times displayed here such as coins, ceramics, furniture, paintings and weaponry used to invade the country by colonists. Apart from the items showcased, the building itself would be of interest to architecture enthusiasts and students. It may even appear as closed therefore visitors need to knock on the door for the caretaker to come and let them in.


Kandy National Museum

Kandy National Museum is located next to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy.The building in which the museum is located was constructed by the King Sri Vickrama Rajasinghe and was declared a national museum in 1942. The magnificent museum is home to a range of historic artefacts and items created by the Kandyan Art Association. If you are visiting this town ensure to reserve your stay at a hotel in Kandy the likes of Kings Pavilion Kandy, which is located just 15 minutes away from this museum.


National Maritime Museum

The Maritime Museum Galle is located within a lovely Dutch period warehouse; within you will find old boats and loads of maritime objects some from century-old shipwrecks. This building is quite unique in its structure part of its walls are into the thick ramparts of the Galle Fort. The 17th-century building is located within the UNESCO Heritage Site and consists of 2 floors. The earliest entry to the fort was through a division on the ground floor of this vintage warehouse and above this ancient gate one can see the old British Coat of Arms with an inscription on the inside reading 1668 VOC. This, when translated, is the abbreviation for the Dutch East India Company.


Air Force Museum

The island of Sri Lanka is not only blessed with an abundance of natural treasures to cherish but it also has a defense force with a much celebrated history. The air force played a key role in defeating terrorism in the island and was engaged in various activities to ensure the safety of the civilians. One of the places to witness their proud history would be the Sri Lanka Air Force Museum. It is the only national museum that is purely dedicated to aviation and the history of the air force on the island.


Colombo National Museum

The Colombo National Museum features Italian architecture and a massive collection of historical artefacts. Founded by Sir William Henry Gregory, the British governor of Ceylon at the time, the Colombo National Museum is the largest, oldest and most prestigious museum in the country. This is also the first public museum in Sri Lanka and features a diverse selection of artefacts from all around the island. The museum was opened on January 1, 1877, with only 800 items on display. Today, the Colombo National Museum features over 100,000 artefacts and attracts visitors from all around the country and many history buffs from all over the world.