National Engineering Technological Heritage Gallery ceremonially opened
A long time wish of the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka (IESL) to have a section depicting the engineering heritage at the national museum came to fruition when the modern National Engineering Technological Heritage Gallery was ceremonially opened in the
Natural History building of the National Museum on the 26th June, 2013 by Hon. Dr.Jagath Balasuriya, Minister of National Heritage at the invitation of Acting Director of the National Museum, Dr. Saroja Weththasinghe. The Guest of Honour for the occasion was Hon. Pavithra Devi Wanniarachchi, Minister of Power and Energy while Eng. Tilak De Silva, President of the Institution of Engineers, Sri
Lanka Dr.(Ms) Nanda Wickremasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of National Heritage and Mr. Arvinda Perera, Managing Director, Sampath Bank were special guests.
Sri Lanka in particular has a great engineering heritage. Its ancient kings engaged in great engineering works for the best interest of the society. As much as ancient edifices such as tanks, stupas, rock fortresses, water gardens overawe us by their mere physical size, the underlying
technologies, some of which has not been fathomed to this day, places them among the engineering marvels of their times. The IESL, as the premier body of the engineering profession considers the preservation of such legacy for the benefit of the future generations as of utmost importance.
The prospect of housing the National Engineering and Technological Heritage Gallery in a section at theNatural History Building of the National Museum became a reality in 2006 / 7 period when it came to light that the then Director of the National Museum Dr.(Ms) Nanda Wickremasinghe, who is now the Secretary to the Ministry of National
Heritage was looking out for assistance to fill up a section of the building. The IESL was only too glad to accept the offer. A Museum Committee was immediately set up under the Chairmanship of Eng. (Prof) LaxmanRatnayake who was subsequently, in the next year, succeeded by Eng. Ranjith Gunawardana and the Committee went about the meticulous task of setting up the gallery.
The fact that its inauguration is held almost 6 years after the initial concept of its setting up is ample evidence of the magnitude of the work and the funding that went in to its making. The Sampath Bank stepped in with financial support of Rupees 6 million and the IESL under the guidance of its President, Eng, Tilak De Silva provided Rupees 4 Mn from its own funds for the work.
The gallery brings to ‘life’ ancient engineering and technological prowess of our ancestors through replicas of a wind powered ancient iron smelting furnace, a village tank complete with regulated water flow through a Bisokotuwa sluice, a vertical cross section of the largest brick-built monument in the world, the Jetawanaramaya, computerized animations of the buildings and water features of Sigiriya, the rock citadel of King Kasyapa among many other artifacts of engineering interest.
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