How can you remind people that they don’t need to go to London, because there are a wealth of museums, attractions and heritage buildings on their own doorstep? Know Your Own set out to do that, creating a game played by schoolchildren across the Isle of Thanet. A mysterious locked trunk, found in a vintage shop in Margate, was the start of the game:
The trunk, an old piece of cabin luggage, carried the names ‘Powell-Cotton’ and ‘Sanger’ on the lid, and the initials ‘KYO’ on the front. There were a number of old labels, too, and some other painted text. The Powell-Cotton Museum’s Keith Dunmall asked local schools if they could help solve the mystery – without opening the trunk. A Facebook page and the hashtag used on Twitter and Instagram spread the word, and invited more people to join in.
The clues took them to the Port of Ramsgate, gave map co-ordinates for RAF Manston, suggested the trunk had been at The Shell Grotto in Margate and of course – led them to find that Powell-Cotton was an adventurer and that Sanger was the circus owner who founded Dreamland. Every clue led to something on the Isle of Thanet, and put together suggested adventure and exploration, within a few miles of home.
But what could be inside? Well, on Tuesday 29th April, a small group from each of the schools who’d investigated the trunk boarded a coach. It took them on a tour of the places they’d identified – stopping at some to investigate, passing by others on the coach, pausing sometimes. Photos on the Flickr show the journey. Places visited, mentioned or discussed included Dreamland, the Tudor House, The Shell Grotto, Margate Baths, a listed Victorian urinal, the Crampton Tower, the Port of Ramsgate, the marker of ‘Ramsgate Time’ (five minutes ahead of GMT), Dickens House, Pugin’s The Grange, and the former RAF Manston (and the two museums there).
But the coach kept on, always heading on towards the Powell-Cotton Museum, where the trunk was waiting to be opened:
The trunk contained a number of interesting objects, every one connected to somewhere on the Isle of Thanet, and every one the starting point for another story.