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Jamaican Museums - contributed by Rosemarie Gordon-Cole

The establishment of museums in Jamaica was born from a desire to create a vehicle that would promote some form of social grace amid the Jamaican society, this by way of exposing them to how people in other parts of the world lived.

This exposure was through the use of literature, science and art and was way back in the colonel days.

Sir Anthony Musgrave was the man that was consumed with the dream to create such a vehicle, and did so in 1879. He founded the Institute of Jamaica, the first museum not just in Jamaican but also in the Caribbean.

One drawback to this otherwise brilliant implementation was that it only catered for a selected group of people who at that time were considered residents from the “upper echelons” of society.

It was not until the mid 1930 when a group of Jamaicans armed with exposure from being educated outside of Jamaica decided that it was time that the ordinary Jamaicans got the opportunity to highlight “their places, faces and concerns” through the programmes and exhibitions that were organized by the institute.

This revolution eventually gave birth to other forms of museums in Jamaican. To date there are twenty registered museums (most of which are found in the eastern part of the island) and a number of small unlisted ones spread out across the island.

They offer a mixture of natural/national history, object centered, community and art.

Presently the Institute of Jamaica is located on East Street in Kingston, where is caters to the masses and oversees the following organizations:

  • Natural History Division (formally the science museum)
  • National Gallery of Jamaica
  • African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica/Jamaica Memory Bank
  • Museums Division

In addition to the above mentioned institutes, here is a listing of some other notable museums in Jamaica

Kingston Area

  • National Art Gallery - 12 Ocean Blvd. Kingston - (876) 922- 1501/8540
  • Liberty Hall - 12 East Street, Kingston - (876) 948 – 8639
  • The Bob Marley Museum - 56 Hope Road, Kingston – (867) 927 9152
  • National Gallery of Jamaica –12 Ocean Boulevard, Kingston – (876) 922–1561
  • People’s Museum of Craft and Technology - Old Kings House Sq. Spanish Town - (876) 907–0322
  • Clonmel Potters Gallary -84 Lady Mustgrave Rd, Kingston, 1(876) 978 3978
  • Bob Marley Museum -56 Hope Rd, Kingston - (876) 927-9152/978-2993

Rural Areas

  • Gallery of West Indian Art -11 Fairfield Ave, Montego Bay - (876) 952-4547
  • Hanover Museum -Lucea, Hanover 1(867) 956-2584
  • Gallary Joe James -Rio Bueno, Trelawny, 1(876) 954-0048
  • Outameni Experience –Trelawny – 1(876) 954-7035/617-0948/9
  • Reggae Xplosion -Ocho Rios - 1(876) 675 8895

...Also See: Port Royal Jamaica

Posted: 12/06/2011

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