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Martin Wickramasinghe House and Folk Museum

Established in the abode of one of Sri Lanka’s greatest Sinhalese writers, the Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Art Museum is considered to be one of the finest folk art museums in the country, as it not only possesses chronicles of the life and times of the celebrated writer, but also provides a comprehensive understanding of the Sri Lankan folk culture that prevailed in the days of old. Accentuated by the typical village backdrop and adorned in Sri Lanka’s endemic flora of trees and plants, the museum is an idyllic setting for the nature lover and the history buff to delve into.

Best Known For

  • Possessing a treasure trove of exhibits that explain one of Sri Lanka’s most decorated 20th Century Sinhalese author’s life and times, along with the depiction of Sri Lankan village life surrounded by lush greenery, the Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Art Museum is famed for being one of the more comprehensive Sri Lankan folk culture museums in the country.
  • Its serene, rustic village backdrop draped in a variety of plants, trees and shrubs that is endemic to the country, makes for the ideal place to take a break and connect with nature. Therefore, making it perfect for the nature lover too.

Interesting Facts

  • Although a museum today, the complex was the ancestral home of Martin Wickramasinghe and is believed to possess a history of more than 200 years.
  • Being located in the village town of Koggala, Martin Wickramasinghe became fascinated with the folk, art, culture and life of the native people, thus inspiring him to write literary masterpieces of village life.
  • During the Second World War, many of the inhabitants of Koggala were told to evacuate, in order to make way for a sea plane base to thwart the axis advances.
  • However, the house of the celebrated writer was spared such a fate, as it is believed that a female RAF Air Force officer, made it her residence after she was fascinated by the subdued, simple architecture of the house.
  • His ancestral home was eventually given back to him, by the government of the country during the 1960s, a few years after he was awarded an MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire).
  • After his death, his lifelong dream of opening a folk museum was eventually realized as ‘The Wickramasinghe Trust’ opened his home as a museum in 1981, for public viewing to learn and understand the old village life.
  • Presently, the folk art museum possesses a great many exhibits and many galleries, namely artifacts of Sri Lankan rural life, a traditional costume gallery, exhibits of old modes of transportation in the form of carts and boats and the ancestral home.
  • The ancestral home is what intrigues many, as the home provides detailed information on the inspiration of Martin Wickramasinghe’s writings, along with the depiction of his splendid lifetime, showcased in the aptly named ‘Hall of Life’.
  • Bringing in that extra vibrancy to his home is the greenery that surrounds it, making it all the more peaceful and serene for many a traveler, in order to understand how the celebrated writer was inspired to create such celebrated literary texts. Thus making it perfect for the nature lover too.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • The museum is open daily from 9.00am to 5.00pm and does not have a season for visits.
  • Moreover, the best time to visit the museum, in order to get the best experience, is during the morning and afternoon hours, as the surrounding nature and buildings make for that perfect village feel.
  • Please do note that the house of Martin Wickramasinghe and the surrounding buildings, along with its natural elements are all part of the museum complex, therefore it is imperative that you do not touch the exhibits and not tamper with the natural surroundings.
  • Do bring along your camera too, since this little museum in Koggala is the perfect showcase of village life in the southern coastal belt of Sri Lanka, making it all the more enticing to click away.

All in all, the Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Art Museum is not just a depiction of the author’s celebrated life, but also of the village he grew in. Surrounded by a variety of endemic foliage, the museum is one of the more unique museums in the country that has kept its charm ever since the birth of Martin Wickramasinghe, making it all the more enticing to visit and explore.

Title image by: KNOWSL The information displayed is provided by Martin Wickramasinghe House and Folk Museum

Tickets

Entrance Fee
LKR 200

Tickets At

Type

Culture and Heritage

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