National Maritime Museum

The National Maritime Museum lies within the historic Galle Fort and is housed in a cavernous warehouse built by the Dutch dating back to 1671. The museum serves as a knowledge centre for the country's rich history of seafaring and its marine biodiversity, with interesting exhibits from both aspects. A collection of traditional wooden craft, from various designs and sizes of outrigger canoes to more simple log rafts, provide insight into the island's early seafaring methods and life-size dioramas depict traditional fishing practices providing the visitor an immersive experience. A model of a typical trading ship used by the Dutch East India Trading Company or VOC, offers a glimpse of colonial times, together with a collection of ceramics and other shipboard items salvaged from some of the wrecks around the port of Galle. The pride of the marine biodiversity display is a well preserved skeleton of a Byrde's whale suspended from the ceiling, and also features numerous fibreglass models of dolphin, dugong, whales and stuffed turtles and sea birds.

Written by Jonathan Roelofsz for

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