The Museum and its surroundings consists of the following sections:
The Lobby area
This is the entrance to the museum giving the layout and the objectives.
Auditorium/Video Projection Room
With a seating capacity of about 55 this is where visiting school children are shown videos on the history of trade and other such museum related topics.
The Main Display area
This consists of three sections, namely coins and currency, Bank of Ceylon and Modern Banking , a curved wall containing a time line and descriptions, and a dark room.
The Coins and Currency Section: Here the coins and currency over the ages is displayed. The subsections of this main section consists of:
-The Ancient Period-(from the earliest times up to 700CE)
-The Medieval Period-( 700 CE to 1500 CE)
-The Colonial Period-(1500 CE to 1950 CE)
-The Modern Period-( 1950 CE- )
Some of the oldest coins to have come into use-punch-mark coins, coins from the Akuragoda Hoard, Gold “Ran Kahavanu” coins , coins bearing the names of Kings, Coins of the three European powers –Portugal, Holland and Britain, coffee tokens issued by companies and currency notes are some of the many interesting exhibits. Each of these subsections has a touch pad giving more detailed information on the coins and currency of that section should a child/visitor be interested in a closer look and more detailed information on the coins.
The Bank of Ceylon Section
This sections details the historic circumstances that led to the creation of Bank of Ceylon as the answer the needs of the people of this country and Bank of Ceylon’s journey over the years up to the modern times passing many historic milestones along the way.
The story unravels of the British and European banks establishing branches in support of the plantation and produce export activities, the problems faced by the indigenous Ceylonese in participating in the plantation economy, the formation of the Ceylon Banking Commission headed by eminent Indian Parsi Banker Sir Sorabji Pochkhanawala and the formation of Bank of Ceylon in 1939.
On display are some of the equipment and books used in banks in the early days such as ledgers in which entries written by hand using dip pens and “G” nibs, accounting machines, electro-mechanical calculators.
Also on display are some historic documents. Among them are some documents containing the signatures of the first Prime Minister and his successor in office, a set of documents showing a member of the public applying for and obtaining shares in the newly formed Bank of Ceylon.
The Modern Banking Section
This section, where the development is still going on, is expected to give the visitor (in this case a school-going child) an opportunity to experience modern banking.
The Curved Wall
The Bank of Ceylon Head Office building has a circular floor area and the curved wall in the interior of the museum section is used to link up the three main display sections. It has a time line running at the lower area giving local events and global events allowing visitors to get an idea of what was happening around the world. The Wall also elaborates and complements the main displays. It starts with a brief narration on the development trade and the emergence of money and it goes on to give interesting tidbits of information such a cross section of an archaeological dig, the various symbols that are found on “Ran Kahavanu”, a deciphering of the lettering on the Polonnaruwa era coins. The Bank of Ceylon Section details the Chetty Crisis of 1925, the US Stock Market crash of 1929 and the world entering the years of the “The Great Depression”
This is a room without windows fitted with both ordinary and ultra-violet(UV) lighting enabling visitors to view special security features of modern currency notes which are visible only under UV lighting.
Open air balcony with 360° view of Colombo
The 28th floor-the one in which the museum is situated-has a viewing gallery/balcony running round the entire building which provides an excellent vantage point enabling the viewer to walk around getting a 360° view of the area around the building.