Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Who owns the paper clips at the Margate Museum ?

When the Margate Charter Trustees donated a war time scrapbook containing newspaper cuttings and photographs collected by a former Mayor George Hoare (1940), I am sure that the donation which was minuted as a donation to the Margate Museum archive for the people of Margate to enjoy and have access to. There was never at any point the suggestion that the donation was to the East Kent Maritime Trust and I should know because I was there. The same applies to the donation of Cobb family items and rare banknotes donated by Angela Cobb to the collection, the items belonging to Bruce Fleet including his gold RNLI badge donated by his family and the Borough of Margate Police items donated by relatives of the Norris brothers or even the items donated by Ruth Tipton which were all donated to the Margate Museum collection. Even on the paperwork I received for all the donations I made over the years the name East Kent Maritime Trust does not appear on any of it so why should EKMT/SMT claim ownership?

When I was a TDC member on the joint Museums committee I raised the question about the ownership of donated items and it was agreed by all those present including EKMT representatives present that the items donated belonged to the Margate Museum collection owned by TDC.

So what did the EKMT acquire at the Museum from their own funds ? Well there is the obvious like IT equipment, office furniture, stationary including the paper clips, museum cabinets , the stock in the shop and storage equipment.
As far as the collection goes they did make some purchases of items for the collection. However, to give them credit where it is due they were responsible for building up most of the archive. This involved purchases like books, postcards, photographs, photcopying and laminated copies and all the staff time and staff training compiling the archive. I should also add that a part of the archive was the personal property of the former curator Bob Bradley which he used for reference enquiries which I understand has been returned to him. There is also a considerable donation to the archive which I made as a gift to the archive, other donations made as gifts were by Mick Twyman and other historians The only items in the Museum that does not belong to TDC or EKMT/SMT or is loan item is the Dr Alan Kay archive that was bequested by Dr Alan Kay to Suzannah Foad.

6 comments:

MAC said...

Tony

Trying to make this clear, it must be understood that although TDC and EKMT sometimes used paperwork headed 'Margate Museum', the museum itself has no legal existence - or 'personality'. This is true of almost all such institutions and title to objects has to be held by the Governing Body - or sometimes named trustees on its behalf, depending on the constitution or Mem. & Arts.

Whoever actually owns the artefacts, there is a presumption that they are being held in trust for the public benefit - though Local Authorities are notorious for breaching that trust and disposing of museum collections for short-term gain.

As Registered Charities EKMT and SMT are working, with Charity Commission approval, to ensure that all items remain for the public benefit - and, as already stated, if Margate Museum has a future, the wishes of both trusts would be for them to remain there.

If a new bone-fide charity was established to run the museum there is every possibility that a transfer would be made to them of EKMT/SMT objects - unlike the TDC material which remains at risk to political whims and accountancy exercises!

There is no intention of stripping strip Margate of any historic assets.

Could you clarify what you mean by the Alan Kay archive - presumably this does not include Alan's Post Card collection which was gifted to EKMT by Alan whilst he was a serving Trustee?

Tony Beachcomber said...

Michael,

What I mean by Dr Alan Kay's archive is the collection plastic wallets that contained his photographs amongst other things which he kept at his house. When he moved to live with his son they were stored in the Museum.

MAC said...

Thanks Tony

I'm not sure if that is not the same material as I collected from Alan along with the postcards - it might be separate, but Alan certaimnly was aware that he was donating his material to EKMT.

I remember Bob talking about dispersing the collection to 'right-minded' people and returning donated items to the original donors, when the museum was facing closure - but of course he had no authority to do so.

The point we should all agree on is that all of the collection should remain available for, and accessible to, the people of Margate and a wider public audience.

Michael

Tony Beachcomber said...

Michael,

It is really coming across that the EKMT/SMT is trying to lay claim on as much assett as it can from the Margate Museum.

For the public good maybe ? I don't think so.

MAC said...

Tony

Exactly that.

There is no question of any of these items being removed, sold or otherwise disposed of - especially if there is a chance that a new group can get TDC to allow them to reopen the museum. I have stated the facts - not speculation - as to the actual ownership of post 1994 acquisitions.

In the case of Alan's material I had hours of discussion with him before accepting his gift and physically carried it from his bungalow and transported it to the museum.

If you doubt the public benefit element, the alternative is for the two trusts to go hand the material over to TDC - do you really see that as a safer course of action?

When I was working for EKMT I twice prevented TDC from closing Margate Museum - so I obviously wish it a new and thriving future!

Michael

Tony Beachcomber said...

Michael,

I am begining to form the opinion that this is more to do with the EKMT/SMT grabbing a stake in the Margate Museum.
Personaly I think everything in the Margate Museum should belong to TDC.
As for Alan Kays collection I suggest you should have a word with his son.