New Conservation Centre at Bovington's World Famous Tank Museum
3:43pm 18th September 2013
For the first time, Dorset's famous Tank Museum has a giant purpose built shelter to protect their historic vehicles.
The 40,000 square ft Conservation Centre, that took a year to build and was partly paid for with Heritage Lottery money, was opened today (Wednesday 18th September).
It will help the preserve over 100 tanks and armoured vehicles from the outdoor elements and give the museums volunteer mechanics the space and cover to keep them in tip-top condition.
The new hall also includes a public observation gallery and special exhibition. Some of the grand vehicles have never been on display before.
Speaking to Wessex-FM from the centre of the new Conservation Centre, Museum Director Richard Smith said it's the culmination of 20 years of effort;
"When my predecessor came here 20 years ago he said the tank museum wasn't a good enough experience to visit and our collections were at risk, because we had all our stuff outside in the rain and it's not a good idea to leave large lumps of metal outdoors! Now for the first time in 90 years the Tank Museum has the facilities to put all its collection indoors and we're so excited about that."
Museum Curator David Willey told Wessex-FM the new space paves the way for new exhibitions and new vehicles;
"In the background we've been lining up things, as a museum we are very cautious about over collecting so we don't end up just leaving things out in the rain. Over the next few years we'll be getting some very impressive new acquisitions and this space gives us that opportunity."
David went on to add; "We like the idea of showing the public what the army has been doing recently. So we're in negotiations with the MOD at the moment about some more recent vehicles which the public would have only seen on the news."