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Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Youth and Culture is moving to develop a National Museum of Jamaica.
  • Portfolio Minister, Hon. Lisa Hanna says a National Museum Foundation has been established to raise the funds to support the museum, which is to be located in Kingston.
  • The Council of the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ), has designated upstairs of the 16 East Street Building, as the space for the national museum.

The Ministry of Youth and Culture is moving to develop a National Museum of Jamaica.

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Lisa Hanna says a National Museum Foundation has been established to raise the funds to support the museum, which is to be located in Kingston.

“I have already engaged key stakeholders, including past esteemed Prime Ministers, the Most Honourable P.J. Patterson and the Most Honourable Edward Seaga, who have agreed to be patrons of our Foundation,” Minister Hanna said.

She informed that the Council of the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ), has designated upstairs of the 16 East Street Building, as the space for the national museum.

“There have been many dreams and many plans over the years for a museum but nothing has happened. Finally, we have moved to develop a National Museum of Jamaica,” Miss Hanna said, while noting that this museum will be the centre-piece that spawns a network of community museums across the island.

The Minister was contributing to the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 20.

She also reported that plans are being made to develop the National Museum West in Montego Bay, which will be located in the Montego Bay Civic Centre.

She said this museum will explore the national narrative but with a special focus on Western Jamaica, while the Civic Centre will also incorporate elements of the National Gallery.

“It is my particular desire that National Museum West maintain a community focus with the histories and memories of our people. I am reliably informed that the National Museum Jamaica is already seeking out objects and narratives that will tell the story of our people and so I encourage members, particularly those with a Western leaning, to get involved,” the Minister encouraged.

She reported that both museum projects will begin this financial year.

In the meantime, the Minister also announced the reopening of a new and modern Natural History Museum. The museum, located at the IOJ on East Street, had been closed for several years.

“Visitors will see a modern gallery with high tech displays as well as the preservation of diverse ecosystems, plants and animals found only in Jamaica,” she said.

The project was financed through the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, and the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).

The new museums will complement three others, which were refurbished and opened last year. These were at Seville in St. Ann; Roxborough, Manchester, and the People’s Museum in Spanish Town, St. Catherine.

Minister Hanna maintained that visiting museums, like visiting libraries, is an essential part of civic education, as well as community and individual empowerment.