About the Museum
World's first museum devoted exclusively to mangroves
Lanka Mangrove Museum
Welcome to the Lanka Mangrove Museum, a unique and fascinating exhibition space that celebrates the world’s first museum dedicated to mangroves. We are dedicated to promoting awareness and understanding of mangrove forests, their vital ecological functions, and their cultural significance.
As you enter the museum, you’ll be immersed in a vibrant and interactive environment, designed to transport you to the heart of the mangrove forest. The exhibits showcase the incredible diversity of plant and animal life that thrives in this dynamic environment, as well as the unique adaptations that have evolved to cope with the challenges of living in such a harsh and ever-changing habitat.
Through a range of displays and educational programs, visitors can explore the fascinating world of mangroves, learning about their importance in regulating coastal erosion, supporting fisheries, and protecting against natural disasters. Visitors will also discover the vital role that mangroves play in the cultural heritage of many communities worldwide, from traditional medicine to spiritual practices.
The Mangrove Museum is committed to promoting sustainable management of these vital ecosystems and inspiring visitors to take action to protect them. We invite you to join us on this journey of discovery and conservation and to experience the wonder and beauty of the mangroves for yourself.
To share traditional and contemporary knowledge of mangrove ecosystems throughout the world
History of the Museum
Dr. Anuradha Wickramasinghe, President of the Small Fishes Federation Lanka initiated an effort to protect mangroves in the Halawatha area in 1994 with United Nations Development (UNDP) funding and consultation with fishermen in Halawatha area. A new section was included in the Pambala Fisherman’s Community Hall situated in Pambala village under the leadership of Mr. Duglas Thesera, who represented the fishermen’s community. The first program was launched on 16th November 1994. The main objectives were to establish mangrove planting nurseries and maintain mangrove samples, conduct awareness programs, conduct exhibitions, conduct programs collaborating with government agencies, advisory services, mangrove research programmes and to facilitate educational field visits. In addition to that, in 1996 with the funding of the Netherlands Embassy in Sri Lanka, a new mangrove center was built and all the above-mentioned objectives of the mangrove programme were continued. In 1998 a mangrove replanting programme was conducted in the Pambala Lagoon under the Community Environment Programme of the Ministry of Environment.
During 2015-2019, a Mangrove Conservation Programme was broadly carried out in the 14 coastal districts with the financial assistance of Seacology, a nonprofit organization located in the United States of America (USA) which focuses on protecting threatened island ecosystems around the globe. In 2014 attention was drawn to build a mangrove museum in the Pambala Mangrove Centre with the financial assistance of Seacology, and the then Minister of Environment and Renewable Energy, Susil Premajayantha supported the idea. July 26th was declared by the minister in 2014 as the Sri Lanka Mangrove Conservation Day in the Pambala mangrove center and the Minister expressed his consent for the construction of the mangrove museum. As a result, construction of the museum started as an essential part of the Sri Lanka Mangrove Conservation Project 2015 -2019.
The museum with cutting-edge new facility is the first of its kind and the vision is to share traditional and contemporary knowledge of mangrove ecosystems throughout the world. In a Ceremony attended by dignitaries, the then president of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena officially declared open the museum to the public on July 26th 2016, the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem.
With the Covid outbreak that devastated the entire world, chairman of the Small Fishers Federation Lanka assigned Mr. Douglas Tasera, the present Director of the museum to sustain the work of this museum. Even though the 2015-2019 project was over by that time, every attempt was made to maintain the museum from 2020-2022 despite very tough financial conditions. In response to a request from Mr. Douglas Tasera, Seacology agreed to provide financial assistance to continue the museum activities for two years since December 15, 2022. It was scheduled that the museum will be registered as an independent organization and will be named as the Lanka Mangrove Museum.
It was arranged to register the Lanka Mangrove Museum at the Registrar of Companies as an association to ensure the sustainability of the museum activities with the partnerships of the government institutions responsible for mangrove conservation and experts of mangrove conservation from universities. Accordingly, the registration of the Lanka Mangrove Museum as an Association is scheduled to be declared on 26th July 2023.
Partnerships for Special Projects
- 1994 – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
- 1996 – Programme with the Netherlands Embassy
- 1998 – Community Environment Programme of the Ministry of Environment
- 2015-2019 – Mangrove Conservation Programme Seacology
- From 15th December 2022 onwards with the Seacology financial assistance for the operation and maintenance of the museum till April 2025.
- From 1994, the mangrove conservation program has been conducted by the Small Fishes Federation Lanka and from 15th December 2022 onwards, the museum functions as an independent organization named Lanka Mangrove Museum.