A Look at Kent Museum of the Moving Image

 Image copyright Kent Museum of the Moving Image / Thomas Delfs

Image copyright Kent Museum of the Moving Image / Thomas Delfs

After years of work getting the building ready and a lifetime spent collecting its content the Kent Museum of the Moving Image is open to the public. We went along to meet the people behind it and take a trip through cinema history. 

 
 
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The founders and curators of the Kent MOMI are just as interesting as the museum itself. David Francis worked as Chief of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division of the Library of Congress. He was also one of the two co-founders and builders of the Museum of the Moving Image on London’s South Bank.

Joss Marsh is an archival scholar specialising in Victorian studies and film. Her late father Terence Marsh, worked as a production designer. Terence’s credits include Lawrence of Arabia, Oliver! and Doctor Zhivago - for which he won an Oscar. Terence ended up destroying some of his sketches and work from the films later in life. Joss remembers how this lit a fire within her, she thought the lost works should have been given to a museum.

 
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David’s huge collection of cinema and film artefacts travelled with them when they moved from Indiana to Deal six years ago. Joss recalls how when David was 75 he said “I think I’ve got another museum left in me”. They bought the former retirement home on Stanhope Road and set to work on shaping it into a museum.

Categorising itself as a museum, archive, research library, entertainment venue and a hands-on exploratorium, the museum covers two floors. Each cabinet carefully curated and no inch of wall space left untouched. The museum’s collection is impressive, and the couple say they need more room still, as they are unable to display items in the collection.

 
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Pre-Cinema artefacts fill the first floor where you can learn about cartes de visite, shadow puppets and magic lanterns. Upstairs, explore an exhibition on The Royal Polytechnic Institution and the history of film cameras. Lastly, Passport to Ealing: The Films and their Posters, spreads throughout the museum, with beautiful framed posters lining the walls of an upstairs gallery and hallways. The posters are a look at a bygone era of British film and design, relying on an illustrative style and bold typography, worlds away from the blockbuster posters we see today.

 
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The museum is a  non profit organisation, and a team of volunteers assist David and Joss in the day to day running. They are currently looking for people to help out on their front desk. If you’re interested in volunteering contact:

The museum is a  non profit organisation, and a team of volunteers assist David and Joss in the day to day running. They are currently looking for people to help out on their front desk. If you’re interested in volunteering contact joss@kentmomi.org
 

Look out for Deal festival event coming this summer, Robert Poulter’s Model Theatre to be held in the museum. Get tickets here.