One of the most exciting tourist attractions in the Maldives is the National Museum. It was opened for the general public on November 19 1952 (1st Rabeeul Awwal), which is also the Maldives National Day. It was inaugurated by the Prime Minister at that time, Ameer Mohamed Amin Didi. The museum was set up to preserve the history of Maldives and large collection of historical objects are on exhibit that portrays the rich past and cultural legacy of Maldives. The museum was once an old palace building in the Sultan Park, which has now been converted to house museum artifacts.
The museum has numerous objects on display which belonged to the Sultans. The vast collection comprises ornaments and costumes worn by various kings and queens, stone items of the Maldives' pre-Islamic period, paper and cloth manuscripts, arms and armor, photographs of important personalities, objects of cultural importance and various other items which depict Maldivian history.
The National Museum is open between 9 am and 3 pm. It remains closed on Fridays and public holidays.
Esjehi Art Gallery
The Esjehi art gallery was set up with the aim of preserving and promoting the traditional and modern artwork produced by the Maldivian people. The gallery is located on the east of Sultan Park, and housed in one of the oldest buildings of Male.
The gallery is not very large but many activities are held here. Various workshops are conducted to hone the talents of artists and give opportunity to the local artists to display their artwork. There are quite a few rooms containing beautiful carvings and preserved wood panels. Exhibitions are also held here occasionally.