Where to Visit: Bob Marley Museum, Jamaica

The King of Reggae music and still to this day the most influential musician to come out of Jamaica is the legend, Bob Marley and a trip to Kingston is not complete without a visit to Bob Marley Museum. The museum is located on the site of the legendary musician’s home, which he purchased in 1975. This house, featuring 19th-century architecture, was Marley’s home until his death in 1981. It was converted into a museum six years later by his wife, Mrs Rita Marley.

The main museum displays the life and achievements of this phenomenal musician through artifacts, memorabilia, numerous writings, photographs and other head-turning mementos. The property also features a well-equipped 80-seat theatre, a photographic gallery, and a gift shop selling T-shirts, posters and CDs and other Bob Marley memorabilia as well as items from Jamaica. You can also tickle your palate with sumptuous meals from the Legend Cafe. The venue allows you to see every aspect of the life of the legend.

Brilliant red, green and yellow colours decorate the exterior of the creaky wooden house on 56 Hope Road where the museum is located. In addition to being Marley’s personal residence, this place was also the site of Ziggy’s Record Manufacturing, and Tuff Gong Record Shop and Recording Studio. Today, the factory has been converted into an exhibition hall with rare photos of Marley and his family. The exhibit also displays some of Marley’s cherished possessions, such as his favourite guitar and mixing console.

Take a guided tour of the Marley complex. Inside the house, you’ll see some of Marley’s personal effects and treasured mementos. In the award room, browse through an impressive collection of Marley’s prestigious awards, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, given to his family in 2001. Around the house, you’ll discover a collection of small shops and boutiques, tucked away in cosy, tree-shaded corners. Make sure to check out the gift shop, which is Jamaica’s sole supplier of the trendy “CATCH A FIRE” clothing line, designed by Marley’s eldest child Cedella.

The gift shop also sells Bob Marley footwear and other souvenir items like posters and key chains. You’ll find more souvenirs in the boutique, Things From Africa, and tons of musical gems at Tuff Gong Record Shop. Facing the house, to your right is Sunfire Juice Club and Restaurant, serving “I-tal” food and natural fruit juices. The museum is open from Monday to Saturday, 9:30am to 4:00pm, but is closed on public holidays. The tour takes about one hour and includes a 20-minute video presentation about Bob Marley’s life including a fascinating film of his final days.

The house is shielded by a vibrantly painted wall festooned with Rastafarian murals. Dominating the forecourt is a gaily colored statue of the musical legend. The hour-long tour provides fascinating insights into the life he led after moving uptown. His gold and platinum records ( Exodus, 1977; Uprising, 1980; and Legend, 1984) are there on the walls, alongside Rastafarian religious cloaks, Marley’s favorite denim stage shirt and the Order of Merit presented by the Jamaican government. One room upstairs is decorated with media clippings about the superstar. Another contains a replica of Marley’s original record shop, Wail’n Soul’m. Perhaps most powerfully, Marley’s simple bedroom has been left as it was, with his star-shaped guitar by the bedside. This is an experienced not to be missed when visiting Jamaica, particularly the island’s capital Kingston.

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