Letters to the Editor

Culture and heritage museum a great idea

Tuesday, June 12, 2012    

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Dear Editor,

I wish to endorse the comments made by Benjamin Aikin in his letter of June 4, "Our culture and tourists". For sometime now I've advocated the need for establishing a cultural (heritage) museum, a central place displaying artifacts, memorabilia and various audio-visual displays on our history and diversity, as seen through the arts, music literature and drama, and just about all aspects of our culture.

I was reminded of this again after reading the Jamaica Observer report on the very poor turnout at Skatalite member, Lloyd Brevett's funeral. Many Jamaicans probably never heard of the Skatalites or Lloyd Brevett and the contribution their music has made to many musical forms we now enjoy today. The little I know about Ska is what I've read in books throughout the years. The average Jamaican, however, knows very little about the history, the key players and how our music developed and evolved into what it is today.

I was reminded of this again after reading the Jamaica Observer report on the very poor turnout at Skatalite member, Lloyd Brevett's funeral. Many Jamaicans probably never heard of the Skatalites or Lloyd Brevett and the contribution their music has made to many musical forms we now enjoy today. The little I know about Ska is what I've read in books throughout the years. The average Jamaican, however, knows very little about the history, the key players and how our music developed and evolved into what it is today.

Equally so, very few know about the profound impact of national groups such as NDTC, the Jamaica Folk Singers, along with individual artistes like Edna Manley, Kapo, Parboosingh, not to mention our great Jamaican writers who have received international accolades for their works in literature and poetry. I think it's unfortunate that so much of our rich history and culture are not being archived, shared and celebrated.

Former Minister Babsy Grange, in her remarks at Brevett's funeral, urged the current culture minister to create a music museum and perhaps a memorial park to bury our icons. Ms Grange is also very knowledgeable, culturally, so she should certainly strive, as Opposition spokesperson, to follow up with the current minister in making these ideas a reality.

We should not just establish a music museum but use the opportunity to broaden the scope and include all aspects of Jamaican culture, perhaps even adding sports. Our culture provides an insight into who we are as a people, our history, how we have evolved, and how we live and interact today. It's as they say, "a window to our soul". If we teach our people to celebrate our culture we will, without doubt, see a change in outlook and pride.

A national museum in Kingston could be a start. This could eventually expand to the second city. As we celebrate Jamaica 50, it would be perfect to brainstorm these ideas this year, and develop some sort of draft proposal on how this could work.

P Chin

Canada

chin_p@yahoo.com

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