Six Remarkable Art and Culture Experiences Available In Jamaica

Jamaica is well known for its music, beaches, and cuisine. It also boasts a dynamic heritage of unique history, tradition, and remarkable art. Jamaican museums offer visitors to the tropical Caribbean nation the opportunity to learn about all aspects of Jamaica. Here are six of the most intriguing art and culture experiences featured on the island.

The Bob Marley Museum – Hope Road, Kingston

The musician and activist Bob Marley has become synonymous with his homeland of Jamaica, and this museum offers a comprehensive experience for music lovers, food lovers, and those interested in Rastafarian culture. The museum is located in the former home of Bob Marley and features displays of the reggae legend’s life and career through photographic exhibits, memorabilia and artifacts, and interactive displays. Visitors can tour Marley’s bedroom and the gardens that inspired his music.

The Institute of Jamaica – Downtown Kingston

Serving as a cultural center, the Institute of Jamaica is home to several museums. The Jamaica Music Museum features a look at the nation’s musical heritage. The Natural History Museum showcases the broad range of plants and animals on the Island, including species found nowhere else on earth. The National Museum explores Jamaica’s history from pre-Columbian to post-colonial days. The three museums make a visit to the Institute of Jamaica one of the best educational and entertaining attractions for people of all ages. Several other museums also make their homes here, including the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica/ Jamaica Memory Bank;  Liberty Hall, which showcases Jamaican national hero, Marcus Garvey; and the Simón Bolívar Cultural Center, named for the South American liberator and revolutionary leader of Venezuela who was exiled in Jamaica in the 18th century. It was donated by the Venezuelan government in 2015 to  encourage connections between the Caribbean and Latin America.

Seville Heritage Park – St Ann’s Bay

The Seville Great House located in Seville Heritage Park is home to displays of Jamaican pre-colonial and colonial history. The Great House is situated where a former Taino village and the first Spanish settlement on the  island were established. The museum features artifacts and story boards exploring the interaction of indigenous Taino, the Spanish settlers, and enslaved Africans. Guides are available on site, or visitors can enjoy self-guided tours of the museum and grounds. The Park offers comprehensive information at the complicated history that shaped the Jamaican nation.

National Museum West – Downtown Montego Bay

The museum is located in the Montego Bay Cultural Center and presents exhibits displaying the range of Jamaica’s unique cultural heritage. Moving through the museum, visitors participate in a journey through the island’s history, from its original inhabitants, the indigenous Taino people, through the infamous colonial period, and beyond. Featuring photographs, artwork, historical documents, and archeological discoveries, one of its highlights is the “Maroon Room,” which tells the story of the Maroons, who descend from the enslaved Africans who were brought to serve as workers on the island’s plantations, fought to obtain their freedom, and established independent communities in the mountains of Jamaica’s interior. Also featured is the Rastafari Exhibit, which provides information about the 1963 attempt by the government to rid the country of all Rastafarians in the 1963 Coral Gardens Massacre in Montego Bay.

Fort Charles Museum in Port Royal

History lovers will love this museum. It was built in the late 17th century by the British as an important defense against pirates and invaders. It is now home to a museum dedicated to telling the story of Port Royal’s pirate past as well as a catastrophic earthquake that submerged two-thirds of the town in 1692. On display are cannon, nautical instruments, and treasures recovered from shipwrecks in the area. These artifacts offer insight in how the people of Port Royal lived their daily lives. Not to be missed.

Downtown Kingston Art District

The “One Downtown” project features 105 murals on display in downtown Kingston, including 13 new artworks located between King Street and Orange Street on Water Lane. The centerpiece of the Downtown Kingston Art District is a pedestrian-only public art walkway on Water Lane, which is anchored by the prestigious National Museum and the National Gallery of Jamaica. The art walk features the work of local artists from the community, including Pamella Chang, Lennox Coke, Dwayne Grant, Jordan Harrison, Kamaal Manboard, Delroy Millwood, Nakeha Shepherd, Deon Simone, Anthony “Taoszen” Smith, Paige Taylor, Keddan Savage and Rupert Tomlinson, Christopher Scobey, David Harvey, Delmar Robinson, Dwight Hinkson, Fabian White, and Wayne Davis. The project is part of the UNESCO Creative City of Kingston and the arts nonprofit, Kingston Creative, in partnership with the Tourism Enhancement Fund, Sherwin Williams Jamaica, the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation, and others.