The Tank Museum at Bovington in Dorset brings the story of tanks and tank crews to life.
With over 300 tanks from 26 nations, The Tank Museum holds the finest and most historically significant collection of fighting armour in the world. These range from the world’s first ever tank, Little Willie, through to the British Army’s current Main Battle Tank, Challenger 2.
Eight powerful exhibitions tell the story of armoured warfare spanning over 100 years of history. As you explore the Museum’s seven large halls, you come face with face to face with tanks and hear incredible true stories from the last century.
The Tank Museum is an independent Museum and registered Charity.
EIGHT POWERFUL EXHIBITIONS
THE TANK STORY: 1915- The Present Day. Thirty five of the most important armoured fighting vehicles in history with a fascinating supporting collection tell the story of the tank from its invention to the present day.
THE TRENCH EXPERIENCE: France 1916. Walk in the footsteps of a First World War soldier – from the recruiting office to the front line on the Somme to see the first tank attack in history.
TANK MEN: The Story of the First Crews. New for 2016, the lives of eight soldiers are the focus of an exhibition marking the tank’s centenary. You will be moved by these powerful human stories of First World War tank pioneers.
WARHORSE TO HORSEPOWER: The Rise of the Tank. How the mud of the Western Front saw the beginning of the end for horse-mounted troops and the rise of the tank. Hear the stories straight from the horse’s mouth.
THE SECOND WORLD WAR: The Discovery Centre. A huge collection of 150 tanks and interactive stations explaining the concepts of armoured warfare, including “Fury – The Exhibition” featuring the real star of the 2014 Hollywood smash!
TANK FACTORY: The Tank Makers Story. Step into the industrial world of design, manufacture and assembly as the story of the people who built tanks is told in an authentic factory setting.
BATTLEGROUP AFGHANISTAN: Helmand Province 2011. Explore a recreated Forward Operating Base to see the living conditions of soldiers on operations in Afghanistan, hear first-hand accounts from the troops and see the vehicles they fought in.
THE VEHICLE CONSERVATION CENTRE: Conservation in Action. Open daily at selected times, this vast hangar with over 100 vehicles houses the reserve collection. These are viewable from a balcony which is home to an exhibition on vehicle conservation.
EXPLOSIVE DISPLAYS & EVENTS
TANKS IN ACTION: Weekdays during Easter Holidays, May Half Term, Summer Holidays and October Half Term. Realistic explosions, thundering engines and expert commentary bring the story of the tank to life in the museum arena. See tanks roll into action, feel the ground shake and learn how tanks developed and are used in battle.
TANKFEST: Last weekend in June. The Tank Museum’s signature annual event is the world’s biggest and best display of moving armour supported by living history encampments, trade stands, guest vehicles and more.
HISTORY Bovington is the `home of the tank`. In October 1916 Bovington was appointed as the new ‘home’ of the Heavy Branch Machine Gun Corps, the title of the first unit to use tanks. It was here that the pioneers of armoured warfare were trained and it remains home to The Royal Armoured Corps today.
Following the First World War, hundreds of redundant tanks were shipped back to Bovington to await the attention of the scrap man. It is believed that Rudyard Kipling suggested the foundation of The Tank Museum following a visit to Bovington. He petitioned the War Office, and in 1923 one of each vehicle type was set aside. The fruits of this foresight form the basis of our collection today, but The Tank Museum wasn’t officially opened to the public until the 1950’s.
EXPERTISE The Tank Museum’s experienced curatorial staff are leaders in their field. They are frequently called upon to advise and support other institutions with historical vehicle collections around the world. Their expertise is frequently sought by the media in factual entertainment programmes, and recently in the production of the Hollywood production `Fury` starring Brad Pitt.
The Tank Museum is open daily from 10.00 – 17.00. The Museum is closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. The Museum is open as usual from 10.00 to 17.00 on Bank Holidays.