The Department of National Museums in Sri Lanka maintain ten Museums devoted to the study and display of objects of cultural artistic and scientific interest pertaining to Sri Lanka's pre-history, archaeology, anthropology, zoology, entomology, geology and palaeontology. Museum publications are on sale at all National Museums.
Colombo National Museum:
The oldest and largest Museum in the country, established 1877. Best know for collection of antiques and objects of art. The library of the museum has more than 4,000 palm leaf manuscripts. Among the exhibits are the regalia of the King of Kandy; ancient and medieval jewellery rare collection of traditional mask; wood and ivory carvings; an exquisite collection of Buddhist and Hindu Bronzes, temple frescoes; ceramics objects including VOC plates of the Dutch period; antic furniture; lacquered objects; ornate brass, bronze and silver objects; stone sculpture and lithic inscriptions. The recently refurbished and revamped Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa Galleries are well worth to visit. For the visitors on a short tour, unable to visit the ancient cities of Sri Lanka, a visit to the Colombo museum will give an idea of the history of the country and its people. Closed on Friday, and all Public Holidays. Tel: +94-011-269476
Natural History Museum:
Natural History Museum is located in the same premises as the National Museum facing the Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha. It's display contains birds, mammals, reptiles, sea-mammals, insects, botanical and also gems and geological specimens of Sri Lanka. Closed on Friday, and all Public Holidays Tel: +94-011-2691399
Dutch Period Museum Pettah Colombo:
The building housing the museum dates back to the 17th century and has been restored with the assistance from the Netherlands. The display depict the political, social and economic conditions in the maritime provinces of the Island under the Dutch rule and it gives a idea of the culture of the Kandyan Kingdom during this period. Closed on Friday, and all Public Holidays. Tel: +94-011-2448466
Kandy National Museum:
This museum is housed in the old palace devoted to queens. It is located behind the Temple of the Tooth Relic. Collections are all of kandyan period (17th - 19th centuries) and include jewellery, textiles and clothes, arms and weapons, ritual objects, ivory carvings, pottery. Closed on Sunday, Monday and Public holidays. Tel: +94-081-2223867
Ratnapura National Museum:
This museum is housed in the Ehelapola Walawwa situated on the Ratnapura - Colombo road. Special interest is its collections of pre-historic objects and fossils of Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus and Elephant collected from the gem pits of Ratnapura District. Other exhibits include jewellery, textiles, flags, gems and semi-precious stones. Closed on Sunday, Monday and Public holidays. Tel: +94-011-2222451
Galle National Museum:
Located in the historic Dutch fort of Galle. This museum displays objects connected to the history and life of people of Galle. Products of handicrafts include reedware, embroidery, horn and shell objects. Closed on Sunday, Monday and Public holidays. Tel: +94-091-2227613
Historical Mansion Galle:
A splendid Dutch building, the oldest within the Dutch Fort has been lovingly restored to its original grandeur and consists of three units. The Museum contains a collection of rare and antique items dating from pre Portuguese period to British Colonial era. Jewellery, pottery. Coins and Chinese porcelain items are on display. The art Gallery provides facilities for exhibition, sale and purchase of rare antiques and Colonial furniture. The Arcade houses a gem jewellery and handicraft shop equally interesting for the visitor. A guarantee certificate is issued to all articles sold as to its authenticity.
Ambalangoda Mask Museum:
Established in 1987 to protect and promote Sri lanka's unique Mask culture of the southern coastal belt with aid and cooperation of the German Government. Among the exhibits are masks over 250 years old belonging to the family of Ariyapala Gurunanse, the great artisan of Ambalangoda masks. There are two kinds of masks, the masks with building eyes and manacing expressions are those depicting the faces of demons used in exorcism ceremonies. The other are faces of animals and human figures associated with the low country folk theatre. A visit here would be a fascinating experience. Tel: +94 (9) 58 750
Ceylon Tea Museum:
The Ceylon Tea Museum is located at Hantane, 3 miles from Kandy town. It is served by a motorable road that circles the Museum, providing easy access. Adequate parking facilities are available for cars and tourist coaches. The Museum consists of four floors and exhibits very old machinery used for tea processing, a librarian auditorium for audio visual presentations. A tea sales outlet and a deluxe restaurant occupies the fourth floor with a panoramic view of the Hunnasgiriya, Knuckles range and Matale range of hills which could be viewed from a telescope mounted on the floor. Open on all days from 8:15 a.m to 4:45 p.m.
Colombo, Kandy and the Dutch Museum charges Rs:500/- per adult and Rs: 300/- per child. Ratnapura & Galle National Museums, Anuradhapura Folk Museum, National Natural Science Museum and the Galle Maritime Museum charges Rs: 300/- per adult and Rs: 150/- per child.
Rs. 160/- with no special facilities. Video Camara : Rs. 1500/- The use of special equipment to photograph or video cassete museums exhibits is prohibited without prior permission from the director.