JIS News

Story Highlights

  • To continue preserving the rich history of Jamaica College (JC), one of the island’s oldest secondary schools, a museum has been established on the grounds of the institution.
  • Jamaica College is an all-male institution with a current student population of just under 1,900. There are more than 100 members of the teaching and administrative staff.
  • The institution is widely known for both its academic and sporting achievements, and has produced many influential members of the Jamaican society, including former Prime Ministers, National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Norman Washington Manley; Michael Manley and Bruce Golding.

To continue preserving the rich history of Jamaica College (JC), one of the island’s oldest secondary schools,   a museum has been established on the grounds of the institution.

Located at 189 Old Hope Road in St. Andrew, the museum, set up at an estimated cost of $6 million, boasts scores of poster boards, which chronicle the history of the school, and secondary education in the country in a systematic and comprehensive manner.

Most fittingly, one of the posters depicts the last will and testament of founder of the institution, Charles Drax.

The museum also boasts several video screens, which will allow users to find the articles they need speedily.

Photographs of original buildings of the institution, as well as schoolboys enjoying or participating in various sporting disciplines are also on display in the facility.

In an interview with JIS News, following the official opening of the facility recently, Principal of JC, Senator Ruel Reid, said every child who enters the institution must visit the facility and have a greater appreciation of the foundation of the school.

He noted that this will help to motivate and inspire them in their own academic excellence, as they strive to contribute to the school’s history.

“It is important, as Marcus Garvey reminds us, to have an appreciation of our history, where we are coming from, the philosophy that drove the establishment of the school and that’s how I tie it into the spirit of Drax and giving back and preparing the way for others,” he said.

He noted too, that the students  can learn to give  back, not only to their school, but to their communities and to  the country as a whole.

Providing an overview of the project, Historian and genealogist, Ainsley Henriques, informed that the museum’s information will be connected to a JC website, adding that this will enable those who have been privileged to have studied at Jamaica College and others, to look at these records.

“The achievements of many past students provide the concept of role models to be emulated by present and future students,” he said.

Mr. Henriques, who is also a past student of the institution, said the preservation of artifacts regarding the history of the college, as well as other institutions islandwide, proved lacking during the initial phase of the project, and so information had to be gleaned from the Jamaica Archives and Records Department, and the National Library of Jamaica.

“We as a nation do have good national records and we must recognize how important it is to preserve them,” he said, admitting that some of the information gathered in the quest to develop the museum was not known to all the stakeholders.

Highlighting that many schoolboys enjoy their sports and the heroes of the winning teams, he said their photographs will probably become the most viewed features of the museum.

“The facility allows these pictures to be added year by year and so ensure the freshness of the information that can be viewed,” he said, encouraging old boys to donate relevant materials to the facility.

He noted that electronic data collection is also crucial to the preservation of the historic moments of the institution.

Mr. Henriques said the sustainability of the museum now falls to those who will have the task of collecting the data, the text of the stories, the copies of the certificates and the photographs, to build on what had been collected and displayed.

He commended all the sponsors for their collaborative effort in the establishment of the facility, such as the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, the Jamaica College Foundation, the Old Boys Association, his wife, Marjorie, the printers, among others.

In his remarks, Chief Executive Officer of the CHASE Fund, W. Billy Heaven, said the establishment of the facility is a significant milestone for the institution.

“For an institution with such a history of excellence, it is only fitting that the triumphs of the past and the achievements of students should be preserved and displayed for the benefit of all,” he added.

Mr. Heaven noted that to date, the Fund has contributed to the establishment of 23 museums across the island.

“By supporting the establishment and maintenance of museums, we hope that we are achieving our objective of helping to educate a wide cross section of people and establish a better understanding of the history of our country and the persons who made tremendous contributions to national development,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Education, Rev. Hon. Ronald Thwaites, spoke at the launch, encouraged the students to familiarize themselves with the history of the institution and use it as a spur for growth and development.

“One of the defaults that we have in Jamaica and particularly in our education system, is our lack of recorded appreciation of the history of our institutions,” he said, adding that this museum will assist in filling the gap.

For his part, Chairman of Jamaica College Foundation, R. Danny Williams. noted that the facility will not only  preserve the past, but is capable of recording the events of tomorrow for posterity.

Jamaica College is an all-male institution with a current student population of just under 1,900.  There are more than 100 members of the teaching and administrative staff.

The institution is widely known for both its academic and sporting achievements, and has produced many influential members of the Jamaican society, including former Prime Ministers, National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Norman Washington Manley;  Michael Manley and Bruce Golding.