When searching for places to explore history and art during your visit to Colombo, consider the magnificence and majesty of considered one of its fondest locations; the Colombo National Museum!


Having opened its doors in 1877 with a mere 800 exhibits, the Colombo National Museum has risen to prominence to currently house over 10,000 exhibits and in turn, comprises an important library in Sri Lanka. For those looking for to page through the island’s history and cultural identity, a tour of the premises could be the proper method to begin journeying through the bustle of Colombo.

Location & appearance

Nestled in Colombo 7 and inside convenient reach of the Nelum Pokuna Theatre and Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo which ranks as considered one of the best hotels in Colombo city, the Museum has etched its presence as the biggest of its kind within the country. Bounded by well-manicured lawns and banyan trees, the Colombo National Museum is housed in a 2-storied Italianate constructing and at its entrance lies a Buddha statue that dates back to between the 4th and fifth century.


Sculpture of Buddha
Image via Wikimedia Commons – Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington, Sculpture of Buddha at Colombo National Museum, CC BY-SA 4.0

Within the 4 partitions of the library, a staggering 12 million documents may be poured over which have been collected over 120 years. Worthy of mention are the palm leaf manuscripts which were written in numerous languages and cope with elements of architecture, astrology and folklore.

Main Galleries

Detail and depth are phrases that best describe the most important galleries of the Colombo National Museum which pay tribute to the earliest agricultural civilisations coupled with the period of colonial rule within the country. Added to this, one can explore a bunch of rock inscriptions, coins, jewellery and a slew of watercolour paintings that depict the previous colony from the eyes of Englishmen. However, the prized possession is the ornate throne of King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe, the last king of Kandy.


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