The opening of the Turner Center certainly attracted a full house at the weekend judging by the figures published in the media (Thanet Times 19/04/11) , was a huge success, going a long way to boost the business confidence and development in the old Town Cultural quarter. Elsewhere the knock on effect did have an impact on the Margate Museum and Tudor House with the Museum pulling in over 900 visitors and the Tudor House pulling in 800 visitors on the Saturday opening. On these figures I would think Thanet District Council should be feeling pleased with itself as the cost of opening the two venues was absolutely minimal thanks to the use of volunteers. Even Councilors contributed to the event with Harry Scobie manning the Museum as a volunteer and a recent cash donation to the Friends of the Margate Museum of £200 from Iris Johnston helping towards the friends group to function.
Politically, I think the opening of the Turner Center has certainly taken negativity out of the debate regarding local history and heritage as something is now being done. Therefore the debate should be how history and heritage can be done better, made to work by whom and how and at what cost. The use of volunteers has definitely proved a point and now that Turner has established a different type of visitor to the town the new TDC administration will have something to think about. I did make general observations in the Margate Museum at the type of people that visited the Margate Museum on the opening day to get some idea of the appeal. I found they fell into two main categories one being interested in Art and the other being nostalgia. The TDC art collection in the Museum is awesome and that alone can form a gallery in its own right and the Arty people did appreciate it. On the nostalgia side the seaside memorabilia was a big hit then it would be as for many people this is a day at the seaside after all.
Finally I should mention the third smaller group, and that was local people whos council tax pays for these venues taking time out enjoying a look at their history and heritage something they do not get to see very often.