On the Margate Museum website it states the Museum is now closed as from 31st March 2009 and everything has been mothballed. The Museum had been closed to the fee paying public since 10th November and only open for researchers and small parties by appointment from the hours of 9:30 to 13:00. Recently the Museum had gained some good publicity including taking on bound copies of the Isle of Thanet Gazette.
In recent press releases it has been suggested that TDC will make a decision regarding the Museum and the collection it owns in June. The Margate Civic Society have made enquiries and there is a report is in the spring newsletter stating "The situation beyond 31st March 2009 is not clear". This is a matter of concern because if the Margate Civic Society is left totally in the dark it doesn't look good for the future of the Museum.
My concerns are that TDC will pass a new disposal and acquisition policy for the collection it owns which could enable it to sell off items that do not meet a new collection criteria. I would love to be proved totally wrong but this is TDC we are talking about and judging by the poisonous political atmosphere at present which would make a canary pass out, nothing can be ruled out.
The Margate part of the collection is bundled into a neat package of the Rowe Bequest, Donations, long term loans and purchases by the former Margate Town Council and TDC. TDC could argue that purchases using ratepayers money are a asset they wish to dispose of.
Donations are a contract between the donor and the council, which does state in the disposal and acquisition policy that the Council can sell them off if they so wish. They only draw back for TDC is the disposal and acquisition policy holds them to a collection criteria. However, there is nothing to prevent TDC from altering the criteria even though the donations were made in good faith. Obviously long term loans would have to be returned but Rowe bequest items will have a legal thing surrounding them, this would be battle ground to attack them on. Fortunately a large proportion of Rowe bequest items are safe in KCC archives.
As for the Ramsgate part of the collection this is a bit of a grey area for me as TDC has never really publicly displayed the Ramsgate items they owned. Except maybe a few paintings in the Maritime Museum , Albion House and TDC offices. When TDC came into being in 1974 a larger proportion of artefact's from Ramsgate Town Council did become the property of KCC as they took over the Museum in the Library which we all know went up in smoke. I suspect the Ramsgate part of the collection will be made up of Town Council and TDC purchases, donations, long term loans and maybe bequests. As TDC have refused my freedom of information act enquiry into the collection, it may now be the time for the more learned Ramsgate historians to make public any information they may have regarding donations especially bequests.