Sunday, 20 February 2022

Economic History Museum, Sri Lanka

Economic History Museum
The Economic History Museum, (Sinhala: ආර්ථික ඉතිහාස කෞතුකාගාරය; Tamil: நாணய நூதனசாலை, கொழும்பு) popularly known as Currency Museum or Money Museum, is located in the old Central Point Building in Chatham Street, Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka. It is administered by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

The museum was established in 2013 by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in The Central Point, an old building which is considered a unique example of British Colonial architecture in the Neoclassical style (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016).

The Central Point Building
Economic History Museum in Sri Lanka
Designed by Walker and Adams, the building was constructed by the Ralph McDonald company by laying the foundation stone in 1911. It was completed and opened in 1914 as the branch office of the National Mutual Life Association of Australasia Ltd, an insurance company based in Australia. It was the tallest building in Colombo by 1914 and in the decade following. 

In 1973, the building was acquired by the Cooperative Wholesale Establishment of Sri Lanka (CWE). In 1996, the interior of the building was damaged as a result of the bomb attack at the premises of the Central Bank by LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), a militant group designated as a terrorist organization by a number of countries including Sri Lanka, India, the USA and the EU. After that, the building remained in a dilapidated state until the Central Bank acquired it from CWE in 2011.

The Central Bank restored the building and gave it the name "The Central Point". This name was given as the building is located opposite the historic Clock Tower of Colombo which is considered the "Central Point" of the island's road network.

The museum presently displays a wide range of exhibits from the evolution of currency in the world, as well as its usage in Sri Lanka which is dating from the 3rd century B.C. to the present. Coins used during various periods of the country such as the Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Dambadeniya, Kotte and Kandy kingdoms, and during the colonial rule of the country and notes and coins issued by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka are displayed in the museum. Self-learning tools to detect the security features of currency notes, and videos on currency are also available.

1) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. p.13.

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This page was last updated on 14 January 2023


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