The Tank Story...
Believe it or not, the Tank Museum is now even better! Thanks to a £ multi-million investment programme this already amazing attraction has added a massive new exhibition hall and purpose-built restaurant and café.
The new building, which manages to blend seamlessly, if magnificently, with the old, industrial hangar-style environment of the museum was opened by the Queen in June 2009.
The results are spectacular. This new, airy and light building houses the “Story of the Tank” exhibition which takes visitors through the fascinating story of the development of the tank in warfare and peace-keeping over the last century and into the future.
The display builds on and complements the older parts of the museum and puts in one place all the most significant exhibits in the “Tank Story”, from the first prototype “landships” to the machines in service today.
And whilst the “Tank” may have been “born” in Britain and developed and tested at Bovington, the telling of its life-story would not be complete without considering the developments made throughout the world to this original concept.
The “Tank Story” exhibition does this superbly with huge, full-colour displays surrounding each of the exhibits and with “Little Willie” spinning slowly in appropriate grandeur on a turntable of his own. It was “Little Willie” the first, if flawed, machine that spawned so many variants on a common theme - armoured, tracked vehicles that shoot back!
From “Little Willie” and the “Landships Committee” the exhibition guides visitors through all the major developments around the world that have shaped the Tank’s almost 100 years of existence.
The new hall blends the Tank Museum’s unique collection of real exhibits with fascinating and eye-catching graphic displays and excellent use of new media.
Large, flat-screen TV are placed at the most strategic points of the Tank’s story so that visitors can benefit from the Tank Museum’s own experts and from the firsthand experiences of real tank crews.
Seek out particularly the interactive screen by the Tiger 1 (Tiger 131) and find out about how it came to be at the Tank Museum and how, for all its size, strength and precision engineering, it was the Tiger’s superior build-quality that was ultimately its downfall. The Tank Museum is now faced with its own fund-raising challenge to keep Tiger 131 on the move.
Don’t miss also, world renowned tank expert David Fletcher’s description and demonstration of how the appliance of simple science, some canvass and a touch of genius kept Sherman Duplex-Drive tanks afloat - some of the time. And at least enough of the time for some of them to have an impact on D-day.
The new exhibition and exhibition hall is amazing, but it has also had an impact on the rest of the museum. All the exhibits, which had been suffering for sometime during the building programme from overcrowding, now have the space they deserve. And the new restaurant and café is a massive improvement on the confines of its previous cramped location amongst the exhibits.
The new all-round-glass eatery looks out over both the now completed sweep of the Tanks in Action Display arena and the wonderful new display hall.
Make no mistake, the new exhibition hall at the Tank Museum is not just a little tinkering at the edges of this superior historic attraction. It is a complete make-over of the face and heart of one of Britain’s and the World’s most significant and moving military collections. Appropriately it continues to emphasise the human aspects of tanks and tank warfare. A fact underlined at the museum’s entrance by memorials old and new, as well as in another new exhibition in space released in the old halls. The all new “Battle Group Afghanistan” exhibition looks at the work asked of British soldiers and machines in that part of the world today.
If you have never been to the Tank Museum, you will find this a fascinating and fun exhibition where you can easily spend a day or more. If you have been before, you will certainly want to go again to see what has been done.
And don’t go away with the idea that this is a museum just for men and boys. Set yourself a challenge to find out how many women have served as tank crew - you may find it is a very much bigger number than you think! (Find the answer in the new exhibition hall!)
Whether you’re new to the Tank Museum or have been before, we would recommend that, since the new building has been completed you wear strong shoes. Not because the floor is anything but perfect. Just because the new Tank Museum will blow your socks off!
And if tanks are your thing, don’t miss out on Tankfest!
Nor should you assume that once you’ve been to the Tank Museum you’ve seen it all. It’s changing all the time, with new exhibitions and buildings, including “Warhorse to Horsepower” looking at the impact of WW1 and the introduction of the tank on horses and warfare. And don’t forget, once you’ve bought your ticket, you can go back as many times as you like within a year!
Thanks to a £ multi-million investment programme this already amazing attraction has added a massive new exhibition hall and purpose-built restaurant and café"