D . R . Wijewardena mawatha
The lust of human being to remain alive and live everlastingly is a natural reflection which turns into an activity when it faces the 'mortality' and emanates in the form of protecting the Foot-print of our ancestors. Thus, Museum is a collection of evidence to such process.
Therefore the Museum of post and telegraph in its general sense and in its more restricted sense namely Post & Telegraph in fact mirrors the social presence of mankind on the planet earth and each and every part of it demonstrates activities of our forefathers.
It is a well known factor that a branch of sacred tree " Sri Maha Bodhi" was brought to Sri Lanka after Buddhism was introduced with the arrival of "Arahath Mahinda " from India. It is mentioned in the Sri Lankan historical chronicle "Mahawasama" that parts of the ship, which brought the branch of "Sri Maha Bodhi" was exhibited in three buildings in Anuradapura.
Mr. A.B. Paris who was the President of Royal Asiatic Society in 1872 made a proposal to Sir William Henry Gregory, the Governor General of Ceylon to build a museum and he warmly welcomed the suggestion.
Thus the honour of constructing the oldest museum in Sri Lanka the "National Museum" goes to the Sri Lanka branch of Royal Asiatic Society and it was first opened to public on 1st of January 1877. The very first idea of establishing a postal museum in Ceylon was arisen in 1918 - 1925 the governing period of Sir William Manning and F. J. Smith who was the Postmaster General at that time brought that idea in to reality.
Later the up-keeping of the post & telegraph museum was handled by the record room of the Postal Department. After 1994 a postal museum was established in the General Post Office at Janadhipathi Mawatha, Colombo 00100. It was housed there, since year 2000-2001 and now the relevant action is being taken to open a modern museum at the basement of Postal Headquarters building in near future.
In this museum the basic information of establishment of post offices in Dutch period, rare date stamp impressions used in the post offices, weighing scales which were used to weigh the letters, the earliest pillar boxes installed in Sri Lanka and Rickshaws which were used for conveyance of mails, tricycles used for delivery of parcels, information on conveyance of land, sea and air mail. Morse telegraphs systems existed in Ceylon, some instruments used for telephone system and large number of equipments used in the telecommunication field will also be exhibited.
In addition to above a philatelic exhibition centre will be opened as a part of the museum which will give immense pleasure to philatelist. It will opened the windows to study about the long history since the first stamp of the world and first stamp issued by Ceylon up to now, for local & foreign stamp enthusiasts.
After this modern postal museum is built, there is no doubt that it will be a vast store house of information with regard to the postal history and history of Sri Lanka will be enhanced by the addition of these facts and will enlightening the future generation.