Museums are a symptom of a sense of decay.
Riverton City in Kingston is virually built on the city dump. For the people living there the dump is the last economic bulwark against the abyss. At the same time it is a cynical museum of civilisation. It is the keeper of the containers of everything that Jamaican Society holds dear: The benefits of consumerism.
But the museum is fighting a continuous battle against forgetfullness. The exhibits are being consumed again before they disintegrate.
“Another mystery; another carefully made thing abandoned; another piece of the past that no longer had a use but had not been thrown away. Like the antiquated, cumbersome pieces of farm machinery scattered and rusting about the farm buildings.” (Naipaul 1985:16
“Jack lived among ruins, among superseded things.. But that way of looking came to me later.. That idea of ruin and dereliction, of out-of-placedness, was something I felt about myself… Jack himself, however, I considered to be part of the view. I saw his life as genuine, rooted, fitting: a man fitting the landscape. (…) It did not occur to me, when I first went walking and saw only the view, took what I saw as things of that walk, things that one might see in the countryside near Salisbury, immemorial, appropriate things, it did not occur to me that Jack wasliving in the middle of Junk, among the ruins of nearly a century; that the past around his cottage might not have been his past; that he might at some tstage have been a newcomer. To the valley; that his style of life might have been a matter of choice, a consicous act. (…) I saw him as a remnant” (Naipaul 185: 19-20)