The Colombo National Museum Sri Lanka


A Treasure Trove of History and Culture

The Colombo National Museum in Sri Lanka is a cultural landmark that showcases the rich history and heritage of the country. Located in the heart of Colombo, the museum is a must-visit for both locals and tourists alike. With its extensive collection of artifacts, art, and historical exhibits, the museum offers a fascinating journey through time.


A Glimpse into the Past

The Colombo National Museum was established in 1877 by Sir William Henry Gregory, the British Governor of Ceylon at the time. It is the largest museum in Sri Lanka and is housed in a magnificent colonial-era building, which adds to its charm and grandeur.

The museum’s collection spans over several millennia, covering various periods of Sri Lanka’s history. From ancient artifacts dating back to the prehistoric era to exquisite sculptures and paintings from the medieval period, the museum offers a comprehensive overview of the island’s rich cultural heritage.

Exploring the Museum

Upon entering the museum, visitors are greeted by a vast collection of archaeological treasures. The prehistoric gallery showcases stone tools, pottery, and other artifacts that provide insights into the island’s early inhabitants. Moving through the galleries, visitors can explore the ancient kingdoms of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, marvel at the intricate carvings of the Kandy period, and admire the religious art of the colonial era.

One of the highlights of the museum is the gallery dedicated to the ancient city of Sigiriya. Here, visitors can learn about the fascinating history of this UNESCO World Heritage Site and view replicas of the famous frescoes that adorn the rock fortress.

The museum also houses a vast collection of traditional masks, textiles, and jewelry, showcasing the rich cultural traditions of Sri Lanka. Visitors can witness the craftsmanship and artistry of local artisans through these exhibits.

Interactive Exhibits and Educational Programs

The Colombo National Museum offers a range of interactive exhibits and educational programs to engage visitors of all ages. The museum has a dedicated children’s gallery, where young visitors can learn about Sri Lanka’s history and culture through interactive displays and hands-on activities.

Additionally, the museum regularly organizes workshops, lectures, and guided tours to enhance the visitor experience. These programs provide a deeper understanding of the exhibits and allow visitors to engage with experts in various fields.

Practical Information

Visiting the Colombo National Museum is a convenient and affordable experience. The museum is open every day of the week, from 9.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m., except on public holidays when it closes at 5.00 p.m.

Ticket prices for the museum are as follows:

  • Local Visitors: Child – LKR 50, Adult – LKR 100
  • Foreign Visitors: Child – LKR 600, Adult – LKR 1200

It is advisable to allocate at least a few hours to explore the museum fully. Guided tours are available for those who prefer a more structured experience.


The Colombo National Museum is a treasure trove of history and culture, offering visitors a unique opportunity to delve into the rich heritage of Sri Lanka. From ancient artifacts to contemporary art, the museum provides a comprehensive overview of the island’s cultural evolution. Whether you are a history enthusiast or simply curious about Sri Lanka’s past, a visit to the Colombo National Museum is an enriching and rewarding experience.

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