The Marcus Mosiah Garvey Multimedia Museum (MMGMM) at Liberty Hall on King Street in downtown Kingston is being renovated at a cost of $13.6 million.
The funds have been provided by the Government, through the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), to upgrade the historic landmark which was the home of Jamaica’s first National Hero, the Right Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
The facility, which is a division of the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ), boasts a research/reference library and multimedia computer centre.
It is also used to administer community educational outreach programmes, particularly to persons residing in close proximity.
Among its most notable features are the interactive and multimedia exhibits highlighting Mr. Garvey’s life and work.
Director/Curator of Liberty Hall, Dr. Donna McFarlane, tells JIS that it has become necessary to upgrade the museum’s infrastructure, based on the extent to which it is utilized.
She tells JIS News that over 60,000 persons, including students, have visited Liberty Hall since it opened in 2005.
The Director says the upgrading will include increasing the number of touch screen monitors from eight to 15 as well as adding big digital display screens.
Dr. McFarlane says the project included demolition of the adjacent Odd Fellows Hall, which was acquired by the IOJ. The site will be temporarily used as parking for Liberty Hall.
The Director says there are also plans to build the Amy Jacques Garvey Centre for Pan-African Research and Education on the site.
Two new exhibits, titled ‘Africa’ and ‘Self-Identity’, have been added to the collection.
Dr. McFarlane explains that these will provide visitors with historical information on Africa, highlighting its “beauty and complexity” as well as the varying levels of development recorded by the continent’s 54 countries.
Additionally, she says the exhibits aim to inspire persons of African descent “to embrace their natural selves and achieve positive self-identity for liberation.”
“We are hoping that people will come and engage and learn more of Africa. It should be a very eye-opening experience for many people,” the Director adds.
Dr. McFarlane tells JIS News that the museum’s doors are open residents of surrounding communities as part of IoJ/Liberty Hall outreach programme
This enables them to use the facility’s computers under an after-school basic literacy tuition programme targeting children and adults.
“We have trained over 2,000 adults in computer skills while our after-school programmes have served thousands of children. In addition, we have an annual summer arts programme,” she outlines.
Dr. McFarlane advises that visits to the museum have been incorporated in the Jamaica Urban Transit Company’s (JUTC) Kingston City Tour Service.
She says the JUTC and institutions, such as schools, negotiate arrangements which enable persons to visit the museum during the tour.
The Marcus Mosiah Garvey Multimedia Museum is the only institution of its kind globally that is dedicated to highlighting the National Hero’s life and work.
Dr. McFarlane says it primary role is “to inform the public about the work of Marcus Garvey 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.”