It is perhaps Sri Lanka's largest private museum with a priceless collection of antiques and trivia going back to centuries, but the Historical Mansion Museum as it is called had a very humble origin.
Dutch-era well was a little over a decade ago that its owner Abdul Gaffar inspired by the Salarjung Museum in Hyderabad which houses the private collection of the Nizam's Prime Minister Nawab Ali Khan, set about building his own museum over the ruins of an old Dutch-era house he had purchased at Leynbaan Street in the heart of Galle Fort.
The building, with its characteristic Dutch central courtyard was restored to its present state with great pains, even to the extent of employing a mixture of clay and coral in the restoration of its walls in keeping with the original. Perhaps the most fascinating feature of the museum is an old Dutch well in the central courtyard with a stone slab inscribed with the monogram of the Dutch East India Company VOC and dated 1763. The exhibits are of course Abdul Gaffar's very own private collection collected with great care over a period of about 40 years.