The Colombo National Museum and the Moorish Muslims of Sri Lanka
Mohammed Jehan Khan.
The construction of the Museum was carried out by Arasi Marikar Wapchie Marikar (born 1829, died 1925, aka Wapchi Marikar Bass, who was descended from the Sheikh Fareed family of Iraq who arrived in Ceylon in 1060 AD). Wapchie Marikkarwas a Renowned Architect and a Mason of British ceylon who constructed The General Post Office, also known as the GPO, the headquarters of the Sri Lanka Post, Colombo Museum, Colombo Customs, Old Town Hall in Pettah, the Galle Face Hotel, Victoria Arcade, Finlay Moir building, the Clock Tower, Batternburg Battery etc. The Old Town Hall in Pettah, which is now a busy market, was built on a contract for the sum of 689 Streling Pounds.
In January 1877, the completed building of the Colombo Museum was declared open by His Excellency, Governor Gregory, in the presence of a large crowd, amongst which there were many Muslims present. At the end of the ceremony, His Excellency asked Arasi Marikar Wapchi Marikar what honour he wished to have for his dedication. The same question was asked by His Excellency from the carpenter who assisted Wapchi Marikar with the wood work of the Museum who desired a local Rank and was honoured accordingly. Wapchi Marikar, noticing the large number of Muslims present, feared that they would spend their time at the Museum on Friday during the Islamic congregation prayer, and requested that the Museum be closed on Fridays. This request has been adhered to by all authorities in charge of the Museum to this day.
Colombo Museum in 1880
Colombo Museum Today