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A Visit to the Bob Marley Museum

The Bob Marley Museum was not on my list of places to see on this visit to Kingston but when my other plans fell through, it sounded like the perfect backup.

Bob Marley Museum entrance

Entrance to the museum

Located at 56 Hope Road in a 19th-century colonial house that was the home the Reggae superstar, Rastaman and activist was living in when he died in 1981, it was converted into a museum by his widow, Rita Marley, and opened to the public on May 11, 1986.

On the main floor is a working recording studio, memorabilia from Marley’s performances, and numerous awards. Included as well are costumes that were worn by the I Threes — Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths — his backup singers from 1974, and an image of Bob.

Bob Marley Museum

Bob Marley’s former home

On the second floor is Bob’s bedroom, with his guitar. Next to the room is a kitchen, family room turned portrait gallery and a replica of the record shop the Wailers owned. Included is the bicycle they used to deliver their records. The second floor also has memorabilia from Bob’s trips to Africa, including his performance at Zimbabwe’s independence celebration.

The tour includes a visit to the room that gunmen sprayed with bullets in 1976 in an attempt on the singer’s life. Rita, Bob and their manager were wounded. Unfortunately, the bullet that hit Bob in the arm could not be removed. The attack was widely believed to be politically motivated.

Bob had planned a free concert, Smile Jamaica, and been outspoken about the glaring inequities within the Jamaican society. In the tense and violent run-up to the 1976 general election, his comments were perceived to be supportive of the ruling PNP of Michael Manley and against the JLP’s Edward Seaga, who had been receiving backing from the US and the CIA. Graffiti at the time labeled Seaga “CIA-ga.”

Mural at Bob Marley Museum

Mural with images of Bob and the Wailers

Two days following the shooting, Bob performed, as scheduled, at the Smile Jamaica concert which was held at National Heroes Park. However, after the concert, he left the island for England where he spent 18 months.  Now the walls of the room are plastered with newspaper accounts of the incident except for a few areas where bullets pierced the brick.

Sign at the Bob Marley Museum

Sign at the cafe – Friendship keeps your heart full

Bob’s original mixing board is also on view. The tour ends with a 20-minute film, with the pulsating rhythms and unforgettable lyrics playing in the background, and featuring footage of interviews with the reggae artist.

In the courtyard of the museum are several murals, one with images of Bob and his sons — the daughters’ are to be drawn. Bob had 12 children. Another mural is dedicated to Haile Selassie. Near the entrance, the wall is covered by photos of Bob, the Wailers and the I-Threes. A statue of the singer, in an iconic pose – right fist clenched, reaching above his head, his left clasping his guitar – stands near the entrance to the museum. There’s also a restaurant, Legend Cafe. In the back, a fish pond and a small marijuana plant.

Bob Marley Museum - Marijuana, ganja, weed, herb, collie or collie weed

Marijuana plant

What You Need to Know

The Bob Marley Museum, 56 Hope Road, Kingston, 927-5152
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 9:30 first tour, 4:00 last tour
Tour lasts an hour
Cost: US$20 (Non-Residents); J$500 (Residents, with proper ID)
No photography is not allowed during the tour however, photos can be taken after.

 

Comments

  1. Never heard about Bob Marley Musuem! It looks interestinga nd well done! Thanks for sharing
    Goody recently posted..Tips to get cheap eating in ParisMy Profile

  2. You’re welcome, Goody! It is quite interesting. More people seem to know about Nine Mile, his burial site, which I plan to visit.

  3. I never knew that there was an attempt to kill Bob Marley! Guess that will be what I learned today:)
    D.J. – The World of Deej recently posted..Traumatized at The Happiest Place on EarthMy Profile

  4. Yes, there sure was. It always surprises me how seriously some people take politics here.

  5. Cathy Sweeney
    Twitter:
    says:

    The marijauna plant is a nice touch. Actually looks like it was a good backup plan to visit the Bob Marley Museum, Marcia. Thanks for the info.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday: Who’s on First?My Profile

  6. Easy Hiker
    Twitter:
    says:

    No Woman, no cry…… loved that song. About time they honoured him, don’t you all think? Good for tourism too.
    Easy Hiker recently posted..Schwerin – The City of Seven LakesMy Profile

  7. Thanks for sharing this, Marcia. I interviewed Ziggy and Damian Marley several years ago and had heard about the museum, but have never heard a first-hand account from anyone who’s been there. Have you ever been to Peter Tosh’s mausoleum in Bluefields? I went there a few years back and wound up getting to meet his mom. I’m a diehard reggae fan (Burning Spear is my favorite), so it was an amazing experience. Never been to Kingston though…
    Bret recently posted..INTERVIEW: Mother Nature Network Co-Founder Chuck LeavellMy Profile

  8. Oh, anyone who’s a Burning Spear fan is a friend of mine! Love the Spear.
    The museum’s definitely worth a trip. I’m planning to follow up with a trip to Nine Miles.
    Would you believe I haven’t seen Tosh’s mausoleum? I’m embarrassed because it’s pretty close to where I’m from originally. I’ll have to put it on my Westmoreland list. Thanks for the reminder.

  9. I didn’t realize his reach until a friend went to Brazil and brought me back a recording of a Brazilian singer doing No Woman, No Cry in Portuguese. This was maybe in the late 70s. He’s been given an Order of Merit by the government and in 1995, I believe, the post office issued a set of stamps to mark his 50th birthday. I should have a set around here somewhere.

  10. It turned out that way, Cathy. I’m glad I went. And yes, is a nice touch.

  11. I believe this is one of the most vital info for me. And i’m glad studying your article.However should remark on few basic issues, The site style is wonderful, the articles is actually great : D. Good process, cheers
    mandarock recently posted..Top Secret Fat Loss Secret ReviewMy Profile

  12. Oh my god! I’ve just got home from our vacation in Jamaica and I haven’t heard anything about this museum, although I think it would be really worth to visit it. It’s a shame that there aren’t written any words about this in travel guides.
    Anna recently posted..Stress can wind up being so bad that it can in fact lead to health problemsMy Profile

  13. Where did you stay, Anna? Sorry you missed it but make sure it’s on your list for the next time.
    Thanks for visiting. I tried to leave a comment on your site but I got an error message when I hit the submit button.

  14. Love Bob Marley, as do many people in Britain. Earlier this year I was lucky enough to interview Levi Roots (of Reggae, Reggae sauce fame) who use to play football with Bob Marley while he was living in London – Levi’s band against Bob’s every Sunday in the local park.

  15. Oh, that must have been fun to play with Bob. Nice memories. Yes, I know of Levi Roots, pretty cool that you got to interview him.
    Thanks for stopping by, Kat.

  16. What a great tour. I am so impressed that it is still running and efficiently too.. Amen to that! 🙂
    ElizOF recently posted..Inspiration: The Infinite Grace In Moments…My Profile

  17. My kids love Bob Marley, always singing the tunes. This would be a place they’d like to visit for sure.
    Narelle recently posted..Tips on being a positive parent – value of the monthMy Profile

  18. Okay, one of these day, you’ll have to come to Jamaica and I’ll have to get to Australia.

  19. Oh yeah, the house is now a heritage site so the museum will be there.

  20. I never knew there’s a Bob Marley museum. This is such a haven for Marley fans. 😀 From what I know, Marijuana is legal in some parts of the world. It seems that Jamaica is one of them. Am I right? 🙂

  21. Hahaha, actually, it isn’t legal here either, Tiffany, though I think we’ve given everyone that impression!
    The museum is definitely the perfect place for fans. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

  22. Thanks, Mandarock, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  23. Harry S says:

    I’ve yet to visit but it does look like a good day out! I’ve yet to come across someone that doesn’t like Bob Marley. His music touched so many people.

  24. It is, Harry. I do hope you go, I think you’d like it. And you’re right: Bob’s music touched millions.

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