Colombo National Museum

Attraction Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha Colombo 00700 Sri Lanka Published on: 13-11-2015

1 hour
09:00 AM - 06:00 PM
02:00 PM
03:00 PM
First-time visit
Must see
0.03 USD

Colombo National Museum is good for

Good for family with kids Family with kids Good
Good for senior Senior Good
Good for couple Couple Good
Good for solo Solo Good
Good for group Group Good
  • Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
National Museum of Colombo, also known as the Sri Lanka National Museum is one of two museums in Colombo. It is the largest museum in Sri Lanka.

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Why Colombo National Museum is special ?

The Colombo national museum is an Italian architecture colonial type mansion which was founded by the British governor of Ceylon at that time, Sir William Henry Gregory. This treasure house is the Sri Lanka’s most prestigious, oldest and largest museum.

The museum is known to be the first public museum in Sri Lanka and has a vast collection of Antiques and many other Artefacts’ from all over the countryside. When the national museum was first opened to the public in 1st January 1877, it had a mere 800 items on display. Today that number has grown to over 100,000.

The Museum also maintains a library that has a vast collection of rare historical books and chronicles for history lovers. It is actively involved in conducting research in pre history ethnology, anthropology, culture and the crafts. It also conducts lectures and seminars periodically.


What to explore at Colombo National Museum?

The museum holds many artifacts from different eras of much importance to Sri lanka such as regalia, including the thrown and the crown of the kandyan monarch. Kandyan monarch is one of the highlights in Sri lanka tourism and one of the most appreciated by the tourist travel Sri lanka.

The Museum holds three main sections for Natural science, Cultural and library and natural section consists of four main sub sections as Entomology, Zoology, Botany and Geology. For entomology section there are over 95000 dry preserved insect specimens and over 5000 wet preserved insect specimens. Where Insects common around the world as well as insects which are only common in Sri lanka.

Zoology section gives the access to the faunal diversity in Sri lanka, in which the museum holds the largest faunal collection of the country. Geology section holds prehistoric items, fossils, mineral soils and many other things.

Botany section has a collection of over 1500 dried plants which includes flowering plants, ferns, mosses and liverworts and several fungi species collected from natural forests in Sri Lanka.

The cultural section is also divided into 2 main sections under ethnology and anthropology. Ethnology section has over one million cultural objects, mainly coins & currency, stone antiques, pottery, brassware, textile, furniture, etc. Anthropology holds over 600 cultural objects which go under 12 subjects such as agricultural, household, ritual, musical, etc.


How to get to Colombo National Museum?

By Bus

Buses connect Colombo with the airport as well as other places of interest in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka Transport Board runs a wide network of buses throughout Sri Lanka, and the Central Bus Stand in Colombo serves as the pivotal point for all buses moving in and out of Colombo.


Selling points

  • Largest Museum in Lanka
  • For Sri Lankan Art
  • World Heritage Treasures
  • Good range of artifacts
  • Great also for kids
A trip to Colombo for family with kids

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3.0 days
62.96 USD
Total travel distance
Number of places
18 places




Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha Colombo 00700 Sri Lanka

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Tips for you

  • It is closed on Fridays and public holidays.
  • A photography permit is an extra R250.
    Ticket and Pricing
  • You can buy a book with explanations.
    Things to do
  • There is an ATM on site near the large museum shop.
  • There is actually a basic canteen which is part of the museum.
  • There is a small shop with souvenirs, booklets, post cards.
  • The collection at the museum is decent ranging from post colonial era to the colonial.
    What to see
  • You can see a lot of paintings and all sorts of archaeological stones and various structures.
    What to see


TripAdvisor View more

I think I'd say this museum is between "average" and "very good" still worth a look. You'll see everything from sculpture, painting, textiles and more. Some of the clothing and jewelry was most interesting to me as well as the gold throne - amazing! It's not air-conditioned so you may be sweating up a storm. If you need a break from the heat visit the gift shop, which sells loads of the same stuff you'll see all over Sri Lanka. I thought it a fitting way to spend my last afternoon in the country before heading home.

FourSquare View more

The museum is housed in the old British colonial administrative building, and acts as a bonus historical site. The collection at the museum was decent ranging from post colonial era to the colonial.

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