Institute of Jamaica


The Institute of Jamaica is the nation’s small-scale equivalent of the British Museum or Smithsonian, housed in three separate buildings – the National Museum, the Jamaica Music Museum and the Natural History Museum. The institute hosts permanent and visiting exhibitions.

The National Museum holds an eclectic array of exhibits, from Taíno carvings and colonial samplers, to a model Air Jamaica plane and a particularly fine bust of the famed nurse Mary Seacole.

The small but informative Music Museum traces the history and development of Jamaica’s music, from traditional instruments to drum machines and keyboards used by artists like Sly & Robbie and Augustus Pablo.

The Natural History Museum's small collection of preserved specimens on display is of perhaps least interest to casual visitors, but it does most of its important work in community outreach and environmental education.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kingston attractions

1. National Library

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Adjacent to the Institute of Jamaica, the National Library incorporates the Caribbean’s largest repository of books, maps, charts and archival documents…

2. Secret Garden Memorial

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Consisting of a stylized dark head with silver tears running down its cheeks, this 2008 memorial is an official acknowledgement of the impact of the…

4. St Andrew’s Scots Kirk


This octagonal Georgian brick structure (entrance on Mark Lane) was built from 1813 to 1819 by Scottish merchants and is surrounded by a gallery supported…

5. Kingston Parish Church


The gleaming white edifice facing the southeast corner of Parade is Kingston Parish Church, which replaced an older church destroyed in the 1907…

6. Coke Memorial Hall

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The crenelated redbrick building facing East Parade is the 1840 Coke Memorial Hall, named after the founder of the Methodist churches in the Caribbean,…

7. Statue of Queen Victoria

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An imperious statue of Queen Victoria stands unamused at the eastern side of Parade, erected in 1897 for her diamond jubilee. As well as noting her role…

8. Statue of Alexander Bustamante

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The south entrance to Parade is watched over by a statue of a wild-looking Alexander Bustamante, Jamaica's first prime minister.