Author & Source
Britain at War

The UK’s legendary Tank Museum has secured a £2.1m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund in order to boost classic skills and their online presence.

Bovington’s Tank Museum looks to the future and toward a new generation as a £2.1m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund funds a new apprentice scheme and will help push the museum into into the virtual world.

Initial funding will be used to construct a 16,000 square foot workshop, with seven maintenance bays, to allow the museum to maintain more of its large fleet. This also gives them the opportunity to launch a scheme aimed at training a future generation of highly skilled and highly sought after apprentices. Young people with no previous mechanical experience will soon be able to be trained ahead of potential future job opportunities in a move which will help rectify the shortage of skills within the within the wider industry.

With the future of the museum’s vehicles secured, attention turns to increasing national and global access to the museum and it’s exhibits. By working in partnership with Wargaming, the developers of popular online game ‘World of Tanks’, the Tank Museum has seen a vast increase in interest from the typically harder to reach younger generation, who have taken their virtual interest in armour and developed it into a fascination for the more than 300 real tanks and armoured vehicles preserved at the museum.

This has seen the annual TANKFEST event sell out and attract 20,000 visitors. However, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, more are able to enjoy the event through the network of online communities including social media and video sharing websites. The HLF funding also allows the Tank Museum to continue to develop their online presence, again with the hope of inspiring the youth and attracting future apprentices and engineers.

The news was broken to the public at 2016s TANKFEST event with the Chair of the HLF South West Committee, Stephen Boyce, flown into the museum’s arena in an iconic Sioux helicopter. He then presented a cheque to Tank Museum Director Richard Smith, who later said: “Sell out events are rare in the Museum community – and TANKFEST provides the opportunity to shine a spotlight on how previous HLF support has allowed us to go from strength to strength as a museum that is succeeding in reaching new audiences.”

Stephen Boyce added: “Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the Tank Museum continues to go from strength to strength. Whether its boosting employment prospects or turning an interest into active participation, involving young people in the heritage that matters to them is a key priority for the Heritage Lottery Fund, so we’re delighted to see the opportunities these plans offer and look forward to seeing them develop.”

Richard Smith (L) is presented with the HLF cheque by Stephen Boyce. (The Tank Museum)

Richard Smith (L) is presented with the HLF cheque by Stephen Boyce. (The Tank Museum)