National Museum of Kandy
The Kandy national museum building built during the Sri Wickrama Rajasingha era was then identified as “Palle Vahala” This was managed as the castle where the king's Queens remained. This building has been built according to the architectural features of the Kandy period. This pallevahala building was used to keep the various objects of historical importance made by the Kandy Art Association established in 1832 and professionals of the Matale district. This was initiated for the public as a museum in 1942.
This museum has over 5000 museum objects representing many aspects of historical and cultural events of the Kandyan era. (17-19 century A.D.)
Historical Significance and Establishment of the Museum
The National Museum Kandy was founded in 1942 during the colonial era, under the guidance of the then British Governor Sir Henry Monck-Mason Moore. It was initially established in the historic Palle Vahala building, which served as the residence of the Diyawadana Nilame (chief lay custodian of the Temple of the Tooth Relic) during the Kingdom of Kandy.
Overview of the Museum's Collections
The museum's extensive collections encompass various aspects of Sri Lankan heritage, including archaeology, art, crafts, and anthropology. These collections are organized into different sections, offering a unique glimpse into the island's past.
Exhibits and Artifacts at the Museum
Section 1: Archaeological Artifacts
The museum boasts a remarkable collection of archaeological artifacts, ranging from ancient tools and pottery to intricate statues and stone inscriptions. These relics provide valuable insights into the island's prehistoric and early historical periods, showcasing the advanced civilizations that once flourished in Sri Lanka.
Section 2: Traditional Costumes and Jewelry
Visitors can explore the vibrant world of traditional Sri Lankan costumes and jewellery, showcasing the diversity and craftsmanship of the island's different regions. Elaborate costumes worn during traditional ceremonies and festivals and intricately designed jewellery offer a glimpse into the island's cultural tapestry.
Section 3: Religious Artifacts
Sri Lanka's religious heritage is well-represented at the museum, with a dedicated section featuring artifacts related to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. Sacred relics, religious paintings, and intricate carvings provide a deeper understanding of the spiritual traditions that have shaped the island's identity.
Section 4: Art and Paintings
Art enthusiasts will delight in the museum's collection of paintings, showcasing the evolution of Sri Lankan art through different periods. From ancient frescoes and traditional Kandyan paintings to modern masterpieces, the diverse artistic expressions reflect the island's cultural richness.
Section 5: Colonial-Era Artifacts
The colonial period holds tremendous significance in Sri Lanka's history, and the museum pays homage to this era with its collection of colonial-era artifacts. Furniture, clothing, and personal belongings from the Dutch, Portuguese, and British periods provide insights into the island's colonial past and its impact on local culture.
Section 6: Ethnographic Collections
To understand the daily life and customs of the Sri Lankan people, the museum showcases ethnographic collections. Traditional tools, household items, musical instruments, and ritual objects offer a window into the island's diverse ethnic communities and unique cultural practices.
Importance of the National Museum Kandy in Preserving Sri Lankan Culture
The National Museum of Kandy is crucial in preserving and promoting Sri Lankan culture. Safeguarding and showcasing the country's historical artifacts and artworks helps foster a sense of identity and pride among the local population. Additionally, it serves as an educational resource, allowing visitors to connect with their heritage and gain a deeper appreciation for the island's rich cultural legacy.
Visitor Experience and Facilities
The National Museum Kandy offers an engaging and immersive experience for visitors. The museum's layout and design are carefully curated to enhance the visitor's journey, creating a captivating atmosphere that transports them through time.
Section 1: Museum Layout and Design
The museum's architecture seamlessly blends with the surrounding natural beauty of Kandy. The tranquil environment and well-planned exhibition halls create a serene and captivating visitor experience.
Section 2: Interactive Displays and Multimedia Presentations
The museum incorporates interactive displays and multimedia presentations to engage visitors of all ages. These technologies enable a deeper understanding of the artifacts, bringing them to life through informative and entertaining narratives.
Section 3: Guided Tours and Educational Programs
The National Museum Kandy offers guided tours led by knowledgeable staff members who provide valuable insights and context to the exhibits. Educational programs are also available to students and researchers interested in exploring specific aspects of Sri Lankan culture.
Section 4: Museum Shop and Café
To enhance the visitor experience, the museum features a well-stocked shop offering books, replicas, and traditional handicrafts. In addition, the café provides a relaxing space where visitors can enjoy a cup of Ceylon tea or sample local delicacies.
Contributions of the National Museum Kandy to Research and Education
Beyond its role as a cultural attraction, the National Museum Kandy actively contributes to research and education. Scholars and researchers have access to its extensive archives, aiding in exploring and documenting Sri Lanka's cultural heritage. The museum also collaborates with academic institutions, hosting workshops and seminars to understand further and appreciate the island's rich history.