Jamaica is far more than merely one of the finest vacation destinations
in the Caribbean. It is a nation that has struggled through political,
economic and social oppression. It has had a turbulent, troubled history,
one that brought forth many people of strength and honor. This influence
is seen in many ways, throughout all of the culture, particularly in
the arts. There are many museums throughout the island, in which bits
and pieces of this magnificent history can be explored and enjoyed.
Columbus Park Museum, found at Discovery Bay, is a remarkable open-air
museum. Admission is free, and it is open every day, from 9am to 5pm.
Here, visitors can wander through numerous exhibits of artifacts and
relics, depicting the many cultural aspects and eras that have influenced
the Jamaica of today. Sights include a reproduction of a wooden boat,
of the style used by a native seafaring tribe, the Arawak, that inhabited
the island when the Europeans arrived.
Hanover Museum, located in Lucea, is a must see location for those interested
in Jamaican history and culture. It is run by the Hanover historical
Society and contains numerous relics from the original Arawak inhabitants
of the island, in addition to a variety of interesting items from well-known
historical figures that frequented the area, including pirates. The
site was once a prison and is an excellent place for children, as it
offers a variety of hands-on educational experiences. A marvelous way
to spend an afternoon, the museum prefers to operate by appointments,
which are available from Monday through Saturday, except for on holidays,
between the hours of 10am and 4pm.
Reggae is an internationally important music form that sprung up directly
from the political, economic and social oppression experienced on the
island. Thus, it is part of the essential rhythm and culture of the
island, with several museums and historic sites devoted to its honor.
Among these museums are the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston and the ReggaeXplosion
in Ocho Rios.
The Bob Marley Museum is located at 56 Hope Road in Kingston, Jamaica.
Once the home of the internationally known and loved music maker, it
now serves as a museum. Open Monday through Saturday for guided tours
that last about an hour, with the first tour taking place at 9:30 am
and the last starting at 4pm, this museum houses a variety of artifacts,
including a favored guitar. Photos and a remarkable mural provide insight
into the life of this memorable performer and thinker.
Island Village in Ocho Rios is where the ReggaeXplosion Museum can be
experienced. And, experienced is the word, as they use an exciting and
informative audio and visual approach to their exhibits. In addition
to special sections of the museum that are dedicated to reggae greats
that include Peter Tosh, Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, there are displays
that highlight ska, dancehall, dubmasters, and mento forms. For lovers
of island music and culture, this will be a memorable experience and
should be considered a must see destination.
Jamaica is certainly a fun in the sun destination. However, it has a
great deal more to offer than those more immediate pleasures. It has
a wealth of history and culture to share, the perfect completion to
any Jamaican vacation.
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