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Stars out in force for tank museum ceremony
5:00pm Wednesday 18th September 2013 in News
TV PRESENTER Dan Snow joined in celebrations as a new £2.5 million complex opened at the Tank Museum.
The historian, who is a museum trustee, was among the dignitaries, volunteers and guests at a ceremony at the Bovington attraction along with actor Chris Barrie.
The 40,000 sq ft vehicle conservation centre will house more than 100 armoured fighting vehicles – including many never seen by the public before.
It was built with the backing of a £2.5m Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant.
The new hall includes a public observation gallery and a Conservation in Action exhibition.
Museum director Richard Smith said: “The centre will provide us with much-needed space.
“It will enable 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 on-going volunteer led conservation and preservation programme, further guaranteeing the long term future of our collection.”
The work of The Tank Museum’s workshop volunteers was the focus of the opening event, with examples of their conservation work on display for invited guests.
One of the museum’s most dedicated volunteers Darren Parsons, from Southampton, opened the centre with HLF representative Doug Hulyer.
Mr Parsons, an engineer for Exxon Mobile, 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.”
Historian and museum trustee Dan Snow, actor Mr Barrie, who is a supporter of the museum and tank enthusiast, and Dorset Lord Lieutenant Mrs Anthony Pitt-Rivers were at the ceremony as the hall was opened.
Mr Snow said: “Yet again the Tank Museum has produced an absolutely world class facility.
“The new vehicle space gives them a chance to display even more of the collection.
“Being able to stand on that mezzanine level and look down on the packed ranks of tanks is a thrill. The Tank Museum is fantastic, and the best thing is that it's still growing.”
The official opening was followed by a Tanks In Action display – featuring vehicles maintained and crewed by museum volunteers.
Nerys Watts, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South West, 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, while 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.
“In the run-up to the centenary of the First World War, this project is opening just in time for commemorations in 2014.”
Watch the video courtesy of The Travel Trunk.net
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