Garvey Multimedia Museum Renovated at a Cost of $13.6 Million

Story Highlights

  • The project, which was officially opened on November 17, now features interactive touchscreen exhibits, face-morphing technology and life-size graphics.
  • “In our collection over the years of stories of self-identity from adults and children that are now featured in the museum, you will see that we still carry an aversion to blackness, preference to lighter shades of skin and preconceived notions about persons according to their skin colour,” Dr. McFarlane said
  • Meanwhile, Senior Director of Technical Services in the Ministry of Tourism, David Dobson, said the museum will provide a facility for the education, entertainment and enrichment of the people of Jamaica and visitors alike.

The Marcus Mosiah Garvey Multimedia Museum at Liberty Hall on King Street, in downtown Kingston, has been renovated at a cost of $13.6 million.

The project, which was officially opened on November 17, now features interactive touchscreen exhibits, face-morphing technology and life-size graphics.

It was funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), and designed by Chicago-based company Art on the Loose.

In her remarks, Director/Curator of Liberty Hall, Dr. Donna McFarlane, said the museum is highly technological and is Liberty Hall’s main teaching tool.

“It represents the life and work of Garvey by allowing him to speak for himself about his life’s journey, the development of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) into the largest black organisation ever, as well as Garvey’s systemic challenge to the subservient position ascribed to black people,” she noted.

She added that the newly redesigned museum now includes exhibitions that explore Garvey’s teachings directed at revisioning “our self-identity and deconstructing our knowledge and understanding of African history”.

“In our collection over the years of stories of self-identity from adults and children that are now featured in the museum, you will see that we still carry an aversion to blackness, preference to lighter shades of skin and preconceived notions about persons according to their skin colour,” Dr. McFarlane said.

“We believe that in presenting 10 of these stories in an exhibition, visitors to the museum will reflect on similar occurrences in their own lives as well as how these may have an effect on their own thoughts and utterances,” she added.

Meanwhile, Senior Director of Technical Services in the Ministry of Tourism, David Dobson, said the museum will provide a facility for the education, entertainment and enrichment of the people of Jamaica and visitors alike.

He noted that he was heartened that the Ministry, through the Tourism Enhancement Fund, was able to partner with the Institute of Jamaica to refurbish the museum at Liberty Hall.

“It is important that we preserve Garvey’s significant contribution for generations to come. We regard this (the museum) as diversity that is important, as we seek to drive revenue earnings while we continue our efforts at increasing visitor arrivals,” Mr. Dobson said.

He added that the museum will certainly enhance Kingston’s powerful allure as the island’s cultural capital and will appeal to those travellers with a special interest in heritage and culture.

For her part, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange said Marcus Garvey has paved the way for persons to present their own destiny “in which we validate who we are and what is most important to us”.

“Validation of ourselves through Garvey’s black nationalism has allowed us to challenge ourselves to break barriers through self-confidence in this race of life,” Ms. Grange said.

Her speech was read by Jamaica National Heritage Trust Board Chairman, Mrs. Laleta Davis Mattis.

The museum also has notable images of Garveyites such as Randolph ‘Ranny’ Williams, Frank Gordon, OD and Queen Mother Mariamne Samad, and many others whose lives were shaped by Garvey’s philosophy.

The museum will be open for free tours this Saturday, November 19.

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