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£2.5m windfall to build new hall housing 100 fighting vehicles at tank museum
DORSET’S Tank Museum is set to open a new hall housing 100 fighting vehicles following a £2.5million lottery grant.
Bovington’s 40,000 sq ft Vehicle Conservation Centre includes a hall, public observation gallery and an exhibition called Conservation in Action, featuring some vehicles which have never before been on public display.
It will be officially opened next Wednesday with a celebration of the work done by volunteers who made the project possible.
Broadcaster and museum trustee Dan Snow will be among the guests.
Museum director Richard Smith said: “The Vehicle Conservation Centre will provide us with much needed space, enabling us to add new exhibitions and ensuring that our collection is stored in a dry and properly heated environment.
“This new centre also gives us the facilities for an ongoing volunteer-led conservation and preservation programme, further guaranteeing the long term future of our collection.”
Nerys Watts, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South West, which provided the £2.5million grant, said: “The Tank Museum holds one of the, if not the finest collection of tanks and armoured fighting vehicles in the world.
“We are thrilled that this project is now open to the public and will provide new facilities to help conserve vehicles, whilst transforming the way visitors interact with the Tank Museum’s impressive collection.
“This is a great opportunity for everyone to get involved and learn about these complex machines and is bound to increase the number of visitors to this ever popular museum.
“In the run-up to the centenary of the First World War, where tanks played a historic role in the conflict, this project is opening just in time for commemorations in 2014.”
The work of The Tank Museum’s workshop volunteers will be the focus of the opening event, with examples of their conservation work on display for invited guests.
One of the most dedicated volunteers, Darren Parsons from Southampton, will be opening the Vehicle Conservation Centre with HLF representative Doug Hulyer.
Mr Parsons, an engineer for Exxon Mobil said: “Volunteering has allowed me to both learn and share my knowledge with other volunteers.
“We all have a different range of skills and abilities but we all find it rewarding to make an important contribution to keeping this heritage alive for visitors to enjoy.”
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