Thursday, 29 December 2011
Friday, 23 December 2011
This is entirely my own point of view and understanding and is not Ramsgate Town Council or Labour Party policy, so I would appreciate any point of view.
There remain many unanswered questions over the continued closure of the Ramsgate Maritime Museum and over the past year even before I was elected to Ramsgate Town Council I have thought in the back of my mind that perhaps Thanet District Council does not want the Steam Museum Trust to operate a Museum from the building. Bearing in mind all the controversy and the legalities of the previous East Kent Maritime Trust running the venue plus all the problems and cost involved does TDC really want to follow the same path again ?
Over at Margate for example the Museum has reopened with the use of volunteers overseen by one council officer. This has been an outstanding success and this is not due to TDC favouring Margate over Ramsgate. It is due to the fact that at Margate, TDC owns all the artefacts and the building so it is just a case of opening the doors. There is nothing political about any of this because all TDC did at Margate was to foster goodwill and now they have a flexible museum service run by volunteers which in all honesty could be a model for struggling local authority Museums throughout the country.
Now if the Steam Museum Trust was to vacate the Maritime Museum would it be a disaster, well the answer would probably be no if the TDC model at Margate was applied to Ramsgate. For example TDC owns the Ramsgate clockhouse building and there is enough goodwill in Ramsgate to form a volunteer group as the magnificent Ramsgate Tunnels project has proved that.
The next question would be what do we put in it? My research over the past six months does point to the fact that TDC owns a substantial collection of Ramsgate items. Which would then put Maritime Museum in the same position as Margate, a TDC building with TDC items that could be run by volunteers. Also it must be also taking into consideration that some of the items locked away in the Maritime Museum are owned by TDC anyway plus there many items that are still loans from Ramsgate people. If push comes to shove the SMT could loans items to the new volunteerMuseum group.
Finally, all it would need is the visitor information centre to move into the Museum and I would say it would be game, set and match.