The excellent Martin Wickramasinghe Museum has in the small town of Koggala. Although popular with the locals, the museum does not see many tourists. However, visitors will be rewarded with a glimpse of what life was like on the island up to a century ago.
The museum is inspired by, and devoted to, the life of Martin Wickramasighe (1890-1976), a renowned Sri Lankan writer who, although fluent in English, chose to write in Sinhala. During his career, he penned a number of novels as well as non-fiction works, such as Gamperaliya(The Transformation of a village, 1944), Madol Doova(Mangrove island, 1947), Yuganthaya (The end of an Era, 1949) and Kaliyugaya(age of Darkness, 1957), many of which have now been translated into a range of languages.
Spread around a huge garden,the museum complex comprises two sections: the Folk Museum and the writer’s house. The Folk Museum displays a range of exhibits from traditional village life. The various objects of folk culture that the writer collected during his lifetime formed the basis of the collection when the museum opened in 1981. There are tools, cooking utensils, traditional games, a superb collection of masks and puppets as well as a re-created village kitchen. A number of exhibits are informatively labelled in both English and Sinhala. Behind the museum is a display of traditional modes of transport, including carts.
The house where Martin Wickramasinghe was born and spent his early life can be found towards the rear of the garden. Wandering through its rooms, visitors can see furniture such as the writer’s desk as well as photographs, awards and books charting his life and career. Wickramasinghe’s ashes are buried next to the house along with those of his wife. more