There has been quite a lot of comment on the blogs about Margate and attempts to regenerate it based around it becoming a modern art centre. What I am talking about here is modern art, not traditional art, I would say as people go I am more inclined to go to art galleries than most.
Frankly though the popularity of modern art is fairly limited, I know this from the amount books about it I sell relative to other subjects, however art galleries tend to be heavily subsidised and therefore entrance is free.
Now in the bookshop there is much more interest in history than modern art, when you include local history, military and transport history it is far and away the largest and most successful subject in the bookshop.
There are 33 bookcases of history in the bookshop and 3 bookcases of art about a shelf of which is modern art, and I would say there is about 1,000 times the interest in things historical as in modern art.
Now I am wondering if closing Margate Museum and putting all the resources into modern art is such a good idea without first engaging in a minor experiment, which is to make Margate Museum free for a bit and compare the visitor numbers with the heavily subsidised gallery in what was Marks and Spencer.