Musical Artefacts on Display at The JIS

Photo: Rodger Hutchinson Keeper of Collection, Institute of Jamaica (IOJ), Jason Ramsay, points to a drum machine donated by Lowell “Sly” Fillmore Dunbar to the Jamaica Music Museum. The musical instrument is one of the many pieces on display at the Jamaica Information Service’s (JIS) head office, 58 Half-Way Tree Road, Kingston in observance of Reggae Month under the theme: ‘Reggae Mecca.’

Musical instruments, including the Bembe, Bata and the Prenten drums, collections of the National Museum Jamaica (NMJ), are now on display at the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) 58A Half-Way Tree Road, Kingston.

The agency has partnered with the NMJ, a division of the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ) to mount the exhibit in recognition of Reggae Month in February under the theme: ‘Reggae Mecca’.

The mini display also showcases the album covers of reggae icons such as Jimmy Cliff,  Peter Tosh and Beres Hammond and ska trombonist and composer Don Drummond. There is also the Dove Harp, a musical instrument attributed to intuitive artist Everald Brown, affectionately called Brother Brown.

Chief Executive Officer of the JIS, Donna-Marie Rowe, noted that the JIS regularly mounts exhibitions in the display area of the lobby to mark various national observances. 

She thanked the IOJ for its continuous support of the agency in its drive to promote the nation’s heritage.

Keeper of Collection, IOJ, Jason Ramsay, said the entity is happy to partner with JIS.

“This is what the Institute of Jamaica does on a daily basis. This is how we preserve culture. This is how we allow persons to know about their history and heritage by doing outreach and by doing display installations,” he said.

Mr. Ramsay informed that the pieces were selected from the NMJ and Jamaica Music Museum (JMM) collections, which comprises more than 18,000 artefacts relating to Jamaica’s history from Pre-Colombian (before significant European influence) to present day.

Mr. Ramsay explained that the museum has an array of rare musical recordings, oral histories of reggae, photographs, films, research files, business records and musical instruments that belonged to well-known Jamaican musicians.

The NMJ regularly mounts exhibitions on aspects of the rich history of Jamaica and arranges historical tours as part of its community and school outreach programmes.

 As the keeper of collection, Mr. Ramsay’s role is to collect and preserve artefacts as well as to educate persons on the role they played in Jamaica’s history.

He said the JMM is also actively involved in the collection of artefacts and urged persons to consider donating antiques around their homes.

 “If it tells a history and you want it to be preserved and you want your children to know that you have donated it to the museum …we will be more than happy to take the object,” he added.

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