Marley museum rides again

Marley museum rides again

Observer senior writer

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

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NOT even Bob Marley's natural mystic was immune to COVID-19 last year. The museum in Kingston, which bears his name, closed last March as the pandemic surged, but reopened in November.

The location, arguably the capital's biggest tourist attraction, opens on Fridays to a limited number of guests.

Lecia-Gaye Taylor is operations manager at Bob Marley Group of Companies which oversees the museum. She told the Jamaica Observer that the heaviest traffic since reopening has been 65 visitors.

“It's modest; nothing like pre-COVID times, clearly,” she said.

Before the virus forced a shutdown, Taylor disclosed that as many as 150 persons visited the Bob Marley Museum daily. Currently, eight-member groups are accomodated.

Last Friday when the Observer visited the complex there was a spattering of visitors, mainly Jamaicans. The increase in local patronage, Taylor noted, has been a silver lining in the clouds.

“I think with COVID they're looking for things to do, and coming here is a good way to experience Jamaica, the Legend – and do so safely,” she said.

What is now the museum was once home to Marley, who died in May 1981 at age 36. He lived at what was a two-storey, multi-room house which stood out at Hope Road.

It was previously owned by Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records, the company that distributed the bulk of the reggae king's catalogue.

The museum officially opened in 1987. Its tour entails a browse of nine rooms which include Marley's bedroom, his kitchen, the 'Shot Room' where the assassination attempt on his life took place in December 1976, and the viewing of a 30-minute documentary on his life.

One of the most popular events at the Marley Museum, the annual live show celebrating his birthday on February 6, has been revamped next month to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Taylor said it will be a virtual affair.

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