Students and teachers from St. Ann’s Bay High school were the first to view the Taino exhibit now open at National Museum Jamaica at the Institute of Jamaica on Tower and East Street in Down Town Kingston.
In order to satisfy students’ need for historical data and historic material culture in line with the education curricula; a small display has been mounted at National Museum Jamaica as a temporary measure, given the closure of the Taíno Museum at White Marl in 2008.
The display offers a brief account of the history of the aboriginal Taíno population of Jamaica from the time of the European arrival in the Caribbean in the late 15th Century. It showcases how the Taínos lived and traded among each other in the islands of the Greater Antilles: Boriquen (Puerto Rico), Haiti (Hispaniola), Xaymaca, Cuba and the Bahamas. Since very little of their culture has survived, Taíno artifacts provide an understanding of their social, economic, political and religious organization.
The Taíno display is an arrangement of some fifty artifacts for students, contextualized under the main categories of Social and Economic Life and Religious Beliefs. Items on display are mostly original pieces; cooking and storage utensils, tools, adornments and religious items, such as amulets, effigies and other symbols. These show distinctive anthropomorphic and geometric designs and markings considered to have been decorative motifs as well as protective devices.