Port Royal Museum to open in May Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The long-awaited Port Royal Museum is expected to be opened in May of this year, with the first exhibit set to be unveiled at the event.

Construction of the two-storey facility, which will be the first fit-for-purpose museum erected in Jamaica, was done at a cost of J$788 million with funding from the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ).

Major work on the building was completed in December 2023, with finishing touches and furnishings left to be done.

Director of the National Museum Jamaica (NMJ), Dr Jonathan Greenland, told JIS News in an interview that the new museum will replace the older and much smaller facility at Fort Charles. 

“It didn’t touch all the subject areas… so we lobbied for the Port Authority to collaborate with us and develop a museum in Port Royal, and so they’ve actually constructed a huge building with restaurant facilities, lots of parking, multifunctional space and meeting rooms, shops and everything that a modern museum should have,” he said.

Director of the National Museum Jamaica, a division of the Institute of Jamaica, Dr Jonathan Greenland

The museum will also be fully accessible to members of the disabled community with wheelchair ramps and an elevator.

Dr Greenland added that the location of the museum is also of notable significance to the history of the sunken city.

“Right on the spot where the museum is going to be, there was a rebellion of the enslaved workers from the dockyard.

The leader of the rebellion or uprising was a skilled bricklayer and when you look at the walls around the whole area where the dockyard used to be, he was probably involved in building that,” he said.

He further pointed out that the museum will present a new opportunity for the NMJ to attract even more visitors and facilitate cultural tourism.

“We’re very excited…. and you know Port Royal is a very interesting place and the history is fascinating. We always had loads of visitors from all around the world without doing any marketing whatsoever, and this is going to be a whole different level of merchandising, marketing and tourism. This is fascinating history and it’s going to be quite dramatic,” Dr Greenland said.