National Museum of Colombo

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Tags : Museum

Timings : 9:00 PM - 6:00 PM,
Last entrance: 5:00 PM

Entry Fee : 200 LKR per person, 100 LKR for children for locals; 1000 LKR for foreigners.

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National Museum of Colombo, Colombo Overview

The National Museum of Colombo is the largest museum in Sri Lanka. It dates back to 1877 and has a colonial vibe with a rich history covering 2500 years. The building’s artworks have an essence of the Dutch, Portuguese, and British Colonial times,with the display of significant ancient and local artifacts, farming methods, tools, and traditional crafts.

The museum's founder was William Henry Gregory, British Governor of Ceylon from 1872–1877. The museum’s construction is very well planned out, and easy to navigate through the corridor the guards guide you to the various galleries. It has three main sections: natural science, cultural galleries, and a gift shop. 

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Musuem Layout

The ground floor takes you through the ancient history of Sri Lanka in successive galleries from prehistory to the periods of ancient cities like Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and Kandy. The top floor has 13 galleries displaying paintings and weapons sections where one can see the influences of ancient Greek Kopis and Indonesian Pistol grip daggers, textiles, pottery, coins, banners, art & craft, agriculture, and mask displays. 

There is a captivating bronze gilt of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva. Regional archaeology, literature, and other arts, along with collections of zoology, botany, geology, and such natural sciences, are included in the museum. One can learn a lot about Ceylon with the displayed artifacts. Statues, inscriptions, and ancient documents relating to the country's history are showcased, along with pottery, jewelry, and currency from places as far away as ancient Greece, Rome, China, and old Arabia.


  • The second floor is closed half an hour before the museum closes, so ensure you arrive on time.
  • Purchase a permission card for 300 LKR which allows you to take photos inside the museum.
  • If you are interested in flora and fauna of Sri Lanka, you can buy the tickets for the National Museum of Natural History and the main museum at that same time.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and light clothes as the museum is massive to go around and there is no air conditioning.
  • Parking is allowed only in the parking area near the coffee shop.

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