Ok, I have to admit that rainy days are rare in Jamaica. Maybe I should rather ask: What to do in Jamaica when the sun is burning to hot? Either way, let me present to you a few institutions worth visiting that you might not necessarily find in your guidebook, but that will offer you the possibility to acquire in-depth knowledge about the real Jamaica.
My aim in this article is also to promote Kingston as a place worth visiting, as it oftentimes get’s overlooked by visitors. You’ll be surprised what else it has to offer apart from the Bob Marley Museum and the Devon House.
The mother institute of a number of different organizations, museums and galleries is the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ). It is an agency of the Ministry of Youth and Culture and is located at 10-16 East Street Kingston. With its mandate, “For the Encouragement of Literature, Science and Art in Jamaica “, the IOJ is known for establishing and managing museums and galleries for the collection, preservation and display of artifacts and art treasures as well as bringing awareness of Jamaica’s rich and diverse heritage.
Art is said to a be a universal language which means that despite all language barriers that might arise when traveling to a foreign country, visiting an art gallery will allow you to dive deeply into the country’s culture. The National Gallery of Jamaica couldn’t be more suitable for such an experience. It’s superlative collection is the finest on the island and should not be missed. It attests to the vitality of the country’s artistic heritage as well as its present. Especially during the Jamaican Biennial, the focus is laid on the finest of Jamaican contemporary art. https://nationalgalleryofjamaica.wordpress.com, 12 Ocean Blvd, Block C, Kingston
Are you aware of the fact that the Maroon heritage of Moore Town is considered UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity? Learn more about Afro-Caribbean cultural forms at the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica / the Jamaica Memory Bank. http://acij-ioj.org.jm, 12 Ocean Boulevard, Kingston.
Music plays an important if not the most important role in the Jamaican culture. If this is where your interest lies, I recommend you to visit the Jamaica Music Museum where you can find out about the various Jamaican music forms, their social, historic and musical values and aesthetics. You can get access to archival material; from rare musical recordings to musical instruments that belonged to eminent Jamaican musicians. http://jamm-ioj.org.jm, 10-16 East Street, Kingston
An interactive journey into the life and works of Marcus Garvey, Jamaica’s first national hero, awaits you at Liberty Hall on King Street, downtown Kingston. The Marcus Mosiah Garvey Multimedia Museum is the world’s first museum dedicated to Marcus Garvey and the first fully multimedia museum in the Caribbean. http://libertyhall-ioj.org.jm, 76 King Street, Kingston
Enjoy a taste of Jamaican wildlife and history while visiting the Natural History Museum of Jamaica. Walk through zoological and botanical collections of rare species and publications, view rocks and minerals, and explore photo journeys of Jamaican plants and animals. The museum offers collections of butterflies, herbarium cabinets, a replicated coral reef and a variety of outreach activities throughout the year. http://nhmj-ioj.org.jm/ioj_wp/, 10-16 East Street, Kingston
Last but not least, the National Museum Jamaica, a national agent for the collection, preservation and documentation of Jamaica’s material culture, administers six historic and ethnographic museums all over the island: The Taino Museum of the First Jamaican, The Peoples’ Museum of Craft and Technology, Museum of St. James, Hanover Museum, Fort Charles Museum and the Military Museum, all of which examine various aspects of Jamaica’s history. Committed to mounting at least two major temporary exhibitions annually, the National Museum Jamaica opened an exciting exhibition about the Black Liberation Movement called Rastafari in 2013. http://museums-ioj.org.jm, 10-16 East Street, Kingston
You’ve visited all the the institutions mentioned above and you’re still hungry for insider information about Jamaica? Why don’t you visit IOJ’s Gift Shop on East Street and purchase a Jamaica Journal, the leading cultural publication on Jamaica’s heritage?