Museum reopens tomorrow
School children go on regular excursions around the country. This was
one such excursion.. Over two hundred students from three schools
visited the Colombo museum. The museum had just recommenced operations
after a daring burglary a few moons ago.Thirty nine schoolchildren
including five teachers and four parents were injured when a staircase
in the museum collapsed on Thursday. The injured had been admitted to
the Colombo National Hospital.
A police source said that the group of school children had at the
same time attempted to climb the stairs to enter the first floor. The
rickety stircase could not cope with the sudden impulse of the children
climbing this staircase.
The injured students were from Sumanajothi Maha Vidyalaya Welimada,
Dambarella Maha Vidyalaya, Middeniya and Giriyagama primary school,
Galagedara. The Cinnamon Gardens Police has commenced an inquiry into
The Colombo museum was established on January 1, 1877. Its founder
was Sir William Henry Gregory the British Governor of Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
at the time. Architect J.G. Smither drew the plans for the new structure
on the Italian Architectural style. The construction was completed in
1876 and the Museum commenced its functions in 1877.
The construction of the Museum was carried out by Arasi Marikar
Wapuchie Marikar (born 1829, died 1925, aka Wapuchi Marikar Bass, who
descended from the Sheiq Fareed family, who arrived in Ceylon in 1060
AD), paternal grandfather of Sir Razik Fareed, Kt., JPUM, OBE, MP (born,
December 29, 1893, died August 23, 1984).
In January 1877, the Colombo Museum was opened by Governor Gregory.
During the period between 1877 and 1999, the museum authorities took
steps to display the cultural and natural heritage of the country for
this purpose. The principal of Dambarella Maha Vidyalaya, K.A. Ranjan
said, "With 126 students, eight teachers and eight parents I organised a
school trip. For a long time, these students wanted to visit many
significant places in the country. We decided to visit the Kelaniya
temple, Biyagama water world, the zoo, the National Museum and the
We successfully completed visiting three places . We now wanted to
visit the National Museum. After we entered the Museum we had to wait a
few minutes in the queue to climb the staircase. We saw students of
another school who were gathered on the staircase and the staircase was
gradually inclining to a side. My students started to run helter skelter
and one girl hit the wall of the museum and she suffered minor injuries.
We collected Rs 750 from each student to participate in the trip which
included accommodation. We had arranged two buses and promised to pay Rs.
48,000 for transport. Although we could not achieve our goal we are
pleased that we returned unharmed."
The Principal of the Galagedara Giriyagama primary school Wimala
Dasanayaka told the Sunday observer, with 59 students who were grade 3,
4 and five including seven parents and six teachers I took part in a
school trip with a lot of expectations. After visiting Lake House,
Rupavahini, Nelumpokuna and Planetarium we visited the National Museum.
We were also under the staircase to climb the next floor of the museum.
Some schoolchildren had gathered on the staircase and it collapsed. Some
students including parents, teachers and I were overrun by the wreckage
of the staircase. There were no injured students but a mother of a
student was injured and she was rushed to the Colombo General Hospital.
Later we came to know that both her legs suffered fractures.
The principal said that they were happy it ended without serious
injuries to any one. If it ended with fatal injury the consequences
would have been much worse for them having to face the wrath of parents.
The teachers said that authorities should look into important aspects,
especially the safety and security of visitors and in particular
students visiting the museum.
"The Museum will reopen to the public tomorrow", a spokesman for the