Step inside Ramsgate’s This Museum Is (NOT) Obsolete

This Museum Is (Not) Obsolete founder Sam Battle Photo Kane Birch

By Kane Birch

As technology progresses, old tech that we may see as useless goes to waste, no longer being needed in our everyday lives as new devices take over their jobs.

But as people throw old technology away, a museum in Ramsgate is digging it back up to give it a new purpose.

This Museum Is (Not) Obsolete, in Church Hill, is “the home for experimental and obsolete scientific and musical technology.”

It is a place where old tech is refurbished and given a new purpose as something interesting, with the help of volunteers of all different skill sets.

The museum was launched in 2020 by Sam Battle, an inventor who also under his  musician’s name ‘Look Mum No Computer.’

The venue is now run by both him and his friend Johnny who aim to evolve and revive old otherwise obsolete technology.

From an old church organ that was refurbished and connected to an electric keyboard playable at all its old notes, to aged sound testing machines that play loud frequencies at the press of a key, this museum is all about experimenting and giving a unique twist to old but familiar machines.

Johnny said: “As long as we can get these machines still being used in a creative way then  it’s mission accomplished.

“The point of these machines is that they’re being used and if they get broken in the process, that’s fine, because we can fix them so they can be used again.

“One of my friends is a historian, an archaeologist, and they said we are archaeologists technically as well, digging up old tech and giving it new life.”

The museum has a wide collection of  devices, all usable by the public once they have paid to come inside.

When first entering, you’re hit with a wave of sound from all areas, unique pitches to owl sounds from the keyboard that plays notes through old toy owls.

It’s also at the entrance where you’ll also see your first invention, an “electromechanical visitor counter”.

This is a device made from switches dating back to 1965 alongside Nixie tubes. Its job is to count every visitor to the museum and each time it goes up, a new jingle plays for those guests.

One attraction is the refurbished church organ, a project that ended with a perfectly working organ that is connected to an electric keyboard.

The organ has also been given the function of live coding, meaning you can have one of many recorded tunes played through it.

Sam has a video on the museum website showing how this was done, alongside other project videos and content on certain equipment and machines they were given.

There’s also the Owl Organ, a “musical instrument consisting of 4 octaves of chromatically tuned owls.”

This was donated to the museum by a creator known as Nervous Squirrel, and can play as many simultaneous tones as you like.

“They also have several old dial phones wired up within the museum with each of their unique numbers written on a paper nearby that explains how to dial them and which phone is in which area”.

There’s even a room dedicated to old game machines and arcade machines, some non-functioning but the rest perfectly kept and on display for you to touch and use.

All these devices are repurposed from otherwise abandoned technology and all are usable to experiment with new sounds or to look back on old memories.

However, there are some concerns around funding. The museum rents the building and needs funding to maintain the exhibits and keep it open to the public.

Johnny said they have contacted the council and asked for some support but feel it is a bit of ‘a dice roll.’

Despite the funding worries, Sam, Johnny and volunteers remain working hard, bringing new projects and designs to the museum.

This Museum Is (Not) Obsolete is located at 5-7 Church Hill in Ramsgate, with an entry fee of £6 for adults, and £4 for under 13’s.

Current opening times are 1pm-4pm, every Saturday and Sunday until June.

For more details visit: This Museum Is (Not) Obsolete (

Kane Birch, from Ramsgate, is a multimedia journalism student in the final year of his degree at Canterbury Christ Church University.


  1. My very first job (1979-1981) was working in a branch of Currys, so the old TVs and VCRs in this museum bring back some very fond memories!

  2. I worked for BT for over thirty years, in the west London area and Northern Ireland and love the fact old analogue exchange equipment has been saved, plus vintage telephones. Well done to all involved.

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