Visitors will be able to hear the” forgotten and scandalous story of the Margate crab,” caught at Palm Bay in the 1800s when Europe’s only museum dedicated to the Crustacean species opens in the town this year.
Crab enthusiasts and brothers Ned and Bertie Suesat-Williams, from Margate, Chase Coley, from Canvey Island, and GRETL – the museums AI guide – have extensively redesigned the space on the top floor of the Pie Factory Gallery in the Old Town which they say will “accommodate the exhibits and to allow us to take visitors on a journey from early life on Earth up to the modern day.”
The trio, who have shelled out for the project from their own savings, say: “Visitors can expect everything from evolutionary history and marine biology to philosophy, history, the climate emergency and much more.”
The trio has some diverse experience. Ned is an archaeologist who has been working in secondary education at home and abroad. He has also performed as a singing squid!
Bertie is a geographer and a writer for news and children’s media and Chase is a sound artist, runs children’s workshops and develops underwater microphones.
Talking to The Isle of Thanet News, the trio said: “Crabs have always been a fascination for us, but what is remarkable is the many directions that a crab can take you. You can use crabs to talk about everything from global politics to fidget spinners.
Crabs are amazing – they are tiny, huge, cute, scary, vulnerable, indestructible and millions of years old all at the same time. They affect all of our lives in ways many of us don’t even realise – from maintaining the oceans, to helping us with important new medicines.”
The team say they hope the venture will bring some unexpected fun to the town and it is hoped plenty of visitors will nip in so they can eventually expand the team.
They said: “Margate was famous for its eccentric seaside attractions long before it was an artistic retreat for London’s struggling socialites. We like to think that Crab Museum will give a 21st century nod to the donkey rides of yesteryear, and our combination of humour and science will inject a little bit of unexpected fun into an often overlooked area of marine biology.”
The museum will feature a mix of free and affordable facilities with events to educate and entertain people of all ages and backgrounds. There will be a professional A/V recording capability for live-streamed talks, discussions and performances and there are plans for a cafe. Entry will be free.
The lads are also creating a digital archive to reach those that may struggle to access the arts and sciences regularly.
They added: “If you’ve got even a passing interest in crabs, the environment, or the future of humanity then Crab Museum is the place for you. If you don’t enjoy your visit you can have your money back, or at least you could if we charged admission, which we don’t.”
The aim is to open initially during the day time and then from Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 11pm, subject to their licensing application.
Find the Crab Museum online at www.crab.mu