Whilst waiting to renew car insurance in Kingston I stumbled on an advertisement for the Marcus Garvey Museum in Kingston. I was shocked that I had not come across this museum in my research on Jamaica.
On Friday 2nd December 2011, we embarked on a family outing to the Marcus Garvey Museum with husband, daughter and uncles. We arrived in Kingston and headed downtown, passing the derelict buildings along the route to King Street. King Street is a busy city centre with vendors selling their wares along the pavement. We arrived at the Museum and were greeted by a statue of Marcus Garvey and beautiful sankofa birds on the gate. The forecourt of the Museum is decorated with beautiful mosaics which I was told were created by the young people of Kingston. The security guard greeted us warmly and signed us into the visitor book.
Liberty Hall is a living monument to Marcus Garvey. It provides facilities for education, entertainment and enrichment of spirit for people in Jamaica and visitors from abroad. Liberty Hall’s mission is:
“to inform the public about the work of Jamaica’s First National Hero, and to use his philosophy and opinions to inspire, excite and positively affect the self-identity of Jamaican people, while creating social and economic wealth.”
We were greeted by Andrew Brown who welcomed us to the Museum and gave us an introduction to the Museum and its history. The Marcus Mosiah Garvey Multimedia Museum is the world’s first museum dedicated to the life and work of Marcus Garvey. The museum is small but packed with information about the life and legacy of Marcus Garvey. There are interactive screens with videos and information about his life and work with the UNIA.
We were introduced to Donna McFarlane, the Director/Curator of the Museum who showed us around the Library and the Garvey Multimedia Computer Centre which provides computer access and training to members of the surrounding community at a nominal fee. Donna informed us that the building next door, the Odd Fellows Hall at 78 King Street, has been purchased by the Institute of Jamaica and plans are underway for its renovation.
The future plan is construction of a new purpose built structure that will facilitate a sustainable long-term solution to the problem of space currently experienced at Liberty Hall as well as accommodates a number of important developments and plans which Liberty Hall hopes to expedite, including:
- Expansion of the Garvey Research/Reference Library to create the Amy Jacques Garvey Centre for Pan-African Research featuring the Cecil Gutzmore Library.
- Expansion of the Garvey Multimedia Computer Centre to accommodate twenty five computers and to offer literacy and numeracy classes for adults and children.
- Development of a temporary exhibition space to be used for contemporary art exhibitions by local and foreign artists.
- Provision of offices and a multipurpose space.
I look forward to seeing this new building.
We enjoyed our time at the Museum and would recommend that you visit the museum when in Jamaica. Purchase the museum catalogue for a summary of the information in the museum and support the museum with your donations.
On my return to London, I looked on the Visit Jamaica website under heritage and could not believe that the museum is not listed as a place to go! A museum on the life and legacy of the Jamaica’s National Hero and a museum dedicated to his legacy do not get a listing? Wha gwarn??? I shall be writing to them to correct this and will do my best to promote the museum with our network.
In the meantime, go to their website at http://libertyhall-ioj.org.jm/ and follow them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Liberty-Hall-The-Legacy-of-Marcus-Garvey/89999038853