Historical Museum of Southern Florida

Port Royal, Jamaica From Feb 16th through Jun 3rd, 2007Port Royal, Jamaica is an exhibition organized by the Institute of Jamaica and the Historical Museum of Southern Florida. For the first time in the US, the public has an opportunity to view a large collection of rare artifacts from the famous Jamaican city of Port Royal, much of which sank under the sea in a devastating earthquake in 1692. From its founding in 1655, Port Royal was one of the most important cities in the English-colonized Americas. Comparable in size to Boston, it was densely settled, graced with lavish homes and imposing forts, and extremely wealthy. Visitors will be able to see over 150 unique artifacts illustrative of life in Port Royal then. Many of those artifacts were recovered through underwater archaeology expeditions carried out since the 1950s. Rare maps, prints, books and manuscripts accompany this wide-ranging collection of artifacts from the National Library of Jamaica, the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries and the Historical Museum of Southern Florida. Among the many treasures are John Taylor’s map of Port Royal, with perspective views of the city before the earthquake, and two illustrations of ships at Port Royal by the prominent 19th Century British artist Joseph Bartholomew Kidd. The exhibition also examines community life in Port Royal today through 25 stunning black and white photographs shot during the 1980s by Maria LaYacona, one of Jamaica’s leading photographers. In addition, video footage of efforts to research and preserve Port Royal’s heritage through underwater archaeology are on display.

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