National Museum West

Top choice in Montego Bay

This well-curated, revamped museum, peppered with period objects, takes you through the history of western Jamaica, from the Cohaba ceremonies of the indigenous Taínos and the arrival of the Spanish, followed by the English, to the transatlantic slave trade, the advent of king sugar, Maroon rebellions, emancipation and the development of 20th-century Montego Bay as a tourist destination. A separate room introduces you to the rise of Rastafarianism, the alleged divinity of Haile Selassie and the back-to-Africa movement.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Montego Bay attractions

1. Montego Bay Cultural Centre

At the southwest corner of Sam Sharpe Sq you’ll find the copper-domed Civic Centre, an elegant colonial-style, cut-stone building on the site of a ruined…

2. Sam Sharpe Square

0.03 MILES

This bustling, cobbled square is named for Samuel Sharpe (1801–32), national hero and leader of the 1831 Christmas Rebellion; it is also where he was…

3. National Heroes' Monument

0.03 MILES

This bronze monument, crafted by Jamaican sculptor Kay Sullivan, depicts Sam Sharpe, bible in hand, speaking to four admirers.

4. Cage

0.03 MILES

In its current reincarnation as a craft shop, the Cage was built in 1806 as a lockup for drunk and disorderly sailors, vagrants and slaves who failed to…

5. St James Parish Church

0.14 MILES

Regarded as the finest church on the island, it was originally built between 1775 and 1782, but was so damaged by the earthquake of March 1, 1957, that it…

7. Burchell Memorial Baptist Church

0.17 MILES

Two blocks east of Sam Sharpe Sq is one of the churches in which Sam Sharpe is said to have been a deacon. The building, which dates to 1835, is a slice…

8. Creek Dome

0.31 MILES

The bizarre-looking Creek Dome was built in 1837 above the underground spring that supplied drinking water for Montego Bay and was still in use after 1894…