Monday, 2 June 2014

Plans to establish a National Museum of Jamaica

Author: Minister, the Hon. Lisa Hanna, Ministry of Youth & Culture

Title: Contribution to the 2014/2015 Sectoral Debate
 Date published: May 20, 2014
Source: Jamaica Information Service (JIS):


In her contribution to the 2014/2015 Sectoral Debate, the Minister, the Hon. Lisa Hanna, Ministry of Youth & Culture, makes several announcements regarding museums in Jamaica including:
  •  the opening of three new museums for the Jamaican people - namely, the Seville, Roxborough and the People's Museum. 
  • the plans afoot to open two additional museums including the National Museum of Jamaican (in Kingston) and that National Museum West (in Montego Bay).
  • the reopening of the technologically enhanced Natural History Museum
In her plans outlined for the new museums, the Minister highlighted some of the funding and location arrangements being made to facilitate these new museums.


For many years, in fact, since the days of our Independence, there have been calls to develop a National Museum of Jamaica which would be a museum for the people; a place where all Jamaicans, from all walks of life, could see, read and feel the amazing story that is our history. To witness the national narrative that is dramatic, extraordinary and often painful, but it is a story that all informed citizens need to be able to understand, and importantly, be able to respond to. 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. This museum, will be the centrepiece that spawns a network of community museums located across the island, that will implement the plans. I have overseen the establishment of the National Museum Foundation which will be raising the funds to support a National Museum in Kingston. The Council of the IOJ has designated upstairs of the 16 East Street Building as the space for this important space. I have already engaged key stakeholders, including past esteemed Prime Ministers, the Most Honourable PJ Patterson and the Most Honourable Edward Seaga who have agreed to be Patrons of our Foundation.

Concurrently, we are moving to develop the National Museum West in Montego Bay. This museum will be located in the Montego Bay Civic Centre and will explore the national narrative but with a special focus on Western Jamaica. This new centre will also incorporate elements of the National Gallery as well. 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 Mayor of Montego Bay and his team are fully on board. Both of these projects will commence in this financial year.

I must also mention that we will be reopening our new, and modern Natural History Museum which has been closed for several years. Visitors will see a modern gallery with high tech displays as well the preservation of diverse ecosystems, plants and animals found in only in Jamaica.Funding support has been received from CHASE and TEF. We expect this to be completed before the end of this fiscal year.

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