Wednesday, 8 June 2011
A artefact's committee ?
It is a sad fact of life that in Ramsgate the best exhibition of prints and photographs of Ramsgate's past are not in a Library, or a Museum but in a shop called Farley's that sells beds in Chatham Street. Which really is a sad epitaph for the old Borough of Ramsgate (1884 to 1974) and Ramsgate's maritime past. I suppose the fire at the library and the loses there didn't help matters. However, I still stand by theories that local government reorganisation scattered the civic collections of Margate and Ramsgate like the lost tribes of Israel to the extent that even if Ramsgate was in a position to open a town museum it wouldn't have anything to put in it.Ramsgate does a have a maritime museum which is a centre of excellence built up by the East Kent Maritime Trust which is unfortunately closed. Then there is KCC archives another center of excellence, but when it comes to art and artifacts at local government level it all seems to fall down. The current trend for Museums is now about exhibition of quality exhibits, so when I was invited by the Mayor of Ramsgate Dave Green to look at the art and print collection held by the Ramsgate Town Council I accepted the opportunity.Dave told me that they didn't have much and he wasn't joking either, I was just so glad I didn't bring a flask and sandwiches because the entire collection of artwork is less 24 items and that does include the duplicates and the loans from the TDC collection inherited in 1974. The condition of almost everything is not quality in fact the condition of the frames and condition of the items loaned by TDC look as if they have been stored in a garden shed. The artwork owned by the Town Council is not much better either.I did take down as much info as possible to research what the Town Council owns and also took a few photographs of which I will post in the coming weeks. Compared to the Margate collection this is not good in fact it reflects very badly on Ramsgate it is almost as if we do not care about our past.So what is the way forward ? well trying to pin blame is stupid and pointless. However, as Dave Green quite rightly said to me "we need to form a artefact's committee". So this afternoon I have been working on a plan and I will keep you all posted.