Within the next few weeks Cllr Dave Green will be calling another meeting to look into the feasibility of opening a Ramsgate town museum. Invited to the meeting will be representatives of all the Ramsgate societies and town Councillors, myself included.
The project is something that will not happen over night and it is going be a long haul especially in these harsh economic times. Even agreeing in principle and establishing a constitution is more progress to date than anything else that has happened since the 2004 Ramsgate library fire. There is going to be no sugar daddy to kick start this project and to date very little to put in a museum but the beauty of this project is there are so many good examples to follow and many bad examples to avoid.
At present Ramsgate town council (RTC) does have a collection policy of it's own with the most recent acquisitions being items that I have picked up at a fraction of their normal price and donated to the RTC. Believe it or not it will be easy to fill up a museum and to amass a collection of items as there are so many Ramsgate genuine prints on the open market, the same applies to items of a generic nature like crested china for example, it is all out there somewhere. However the hard part will be acquiring items that have a strong provenance to Ramsgate and this is where local historians and local people are going to be worth their weight in gold to a Ramsgate museum. Even over at the Margate museum they have very few artifacts that have a strong Margate provenance in ratio to the rest of the collection which does run into thousands.
Sooner or later Thanet District Council will have to make a decision on what it is going to do with the Ramsgate collection of items that it has had stored for many years at Margate, especially the good stuff. Unfortunately there are so many Ramsgate items in the TDC collection that have suffered from so much neglect over the years that taking on some items would be a liability something I am sure TDC would love to off load on somebody. So a new Ramsgate town museum will have to be very astute on what it takes on in the way of a collection.
My historical knowledge of Ramsgate is not as strong as my Margate knowledge so what can a "new boy" contribute to a Ramsgate museum when there are so many quality Ramsgate historians like Terry Wheeler, Ralph Hoult, Ben Kelly for example. My answer to that will be to seek out artifacts that have a provenance to Ramsgate and bearing in mind we are standing on centuries of local history and surrounded by coastline this will not be a problem.