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Saturday, 28 February 2009

Muse. Um.

Here’s a very British gem: the Herne Bay Museum (link).

Fearless and fervent, my woman and I swarmed into the Museum to see what we could find out about The Downs of yesteryear. The place is a treasure trove! If you haven’t been recently, pop in and saunter around. From fossil teeth to bouncing bombs, they’ve got all sorts of goodies on permanent display. There are also temporary exhibitions - all the ones I’ve seen have been well worth a good peer. Currently it's 'Inventions', with a few kids’ own ideas: “a friendly robot to bring me sweets”.

Met up with Craig Bowen who looks after the tardis-full of stuff filed upstairs, like a collie looks after a flock of sheep. He’s actually divided between several museums, with Canterbury getting the lion’s share of him (hope we get the useful bits!). Enthusiastic and very helpful, as was the nice lady on the front desk.

There’s an almost magical, other-worldly, time-slip quality about the archives, as seems to happen when the present is dedicated to the past, so it didn't seem out of place when a paternal Victorian figure stepped through the mist of time into our little tardis, brooding and reserved. He looked like someone's long-lost great-uncle Septimus, and muttered 'pas devant les enfants', so we took the hint and scarpered.

I like the Museum a lot. It's a delightful and poignant venture, burnished by the care and love invested in it, and handsomely repays the time you spend there. Long may it thrive and prosper. I would hate to see it fall prey to the unthinking short-term destructive greed that was directed at the Visitor Information Centre. For instance.


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