Delving in to Deal Museum
This week we went along to Deal Museum. Having found out a little about Deal’s history here and there, we were keen to learn more and see what we could discover. Located on St George’s Road, the museum is a fascinating place, packed to the rafters with artifacts relating to Deal’s rich history.
Among some of the most interesting items you can find one of the little ships that crossed the Channel to Dunkirk, some decorative wood paneling from the Cutty Sark, that was found in a garden in Kingsdown. There's also a collection of old life jackets, the oldest made out of cork. Not too efficient as people wearing it would break their necks when they jumped into the water.
The Marines exhibition has some interesting features you wouldn't expect from a small museum. You can pick up the phone and hear spoken testimony of marines and their relations. We found it compelling because it also covers some of the social history of the marine’s time in Deal- like the pantomimes, and massive Christmas puddings they made each year. It's a history that isn't common place to see but was hugely interesting to us, it's a Deal centric view of the Marines which is exactly what you want from a Deal Maritime Museum. There's even a box of dressing up items and a mock dressing room for children to re-enact the popular pantos.
Along the stairs is a gallery of photos featuring famous faces who have lived in or visited Deal. Upstairs is packed with interesting objects and curiosities from Deal’s past. The hooden horses, shop signs, original drawings and seaside buckets. Its fascinating to take a look at the diagrams of Deal high street and find out how it’s changed, and how it's stayed the same over the years. You can also find out how much you know about the town by taking a quiz. We found out were “No Big Deal” having only scored six out of ten questions right.
Much can be learned about the lifeboats of Deal and the Goodwin Sands. Exhibitions show photographs and list crew members. There's old sepia toned images of people out at the Goodwin Sands playing cricket and being shaved by a barber.
A lot of effort has gone in to making the museum interactive and interesting. There's a small shelter that simulates the experience of being in the trenches in WWI. Each month the museum pins a list of all those from Deal who would have died that month. A touching reminder of the war’s impact on everyday lives.
Deal Museum is a great place to visit for anyone wanting to find out more about the town's history. If you want to delve into your family’s history, or if there's an aspect of Deal you want to know more about, the museum can assist you in your research and you can access their archive materials.
The museum relies on donated items from the public, and volunteers who keep it running. You can support the museum by making a contribution below.