Museums in Sri Lanka

National Museum of Colombo
Museums in Sri Lanka (Sinhala: ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ කෞතුකාගාර ලැයිස්තුව; Tamil: இலங்கையில் உள்ள அருங்காட்சியகங்களின் பட்டியல்) began with the establishment of the first museum in the country, the Colombo Museum, on 1 January 1877 (Embuldeniya & Karunarathna, 2019; Rambukwella, 2014). After that, as a result of the National Museums Ordinance, passed in 1942, more museums were established at Kandy (1942), Jaffna (1943), Ratnapura (1946), Anuradhapura [(1947) Rambukwella, 2014]. These museums were further developed or expanded with time and in addition to them, museums with different themes such as history, archaeology, heritage were gradually established all over the country by three main government institutes; namely the Department of National Museums, Department of Archaeological Survey, and the Central Cultural Fund (Rambukwella, 2014). Besides the main museums administered by these institutes, several small museums and private collections are also maintained by different authorities, such as universities, companies, government institutions, provincial councils, district authorities and private owners (Rambukwella, 2014).

Museums under the Department of National Museums
Including the five main designated national museums, nine museums are administered by the Department of National Museums today (Rambukwella, 2014). Moreover, several school museums are also managed by them (Rambukwella, 2014).

Museums under the Department of Archaeological Survey
The Department of Archaeological Survey of Sri Lanka manages twenty-seven archaeological museums (Rambukwella, 2014).

North Central Province

North Western Province

Southern Province

Eastern Province

Central Province

Northern Province

Uva Province
    2) Maligavila Museum (Site)

Sabaragamuwa Province

Western Province
    Museums under the Central Cultural Fund
    Seven museums are presently administered by the Central Cultural Fund (Rambukwella, 2014).

    Other Museums

    1) Embuldeniya, P., Karunarathna, K.G.M., 2019. Significance of developing museums in Sri Lanka as tourist attractions: with special reference to national museums. EPRA International Journal of Research and Development. Vol. IV. Issue 2. pp.14-21.
    2) Rambukwella, M.W.C.N.K., 2014. Heritage representation in culturally diverse societies: a case study of the Colombo National Museum in Sri Lanka (Doctoral dissertation, School of Museum Studies). pp.130-140,401-423.
    This page was last updated on 26 February 2023

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