The Tank Museum has received a £2.5m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its Access All Areas project.
The multi-faceted project will cost £5m to complete.
It includes a new 40,000 square foot Vehicle Conservation Centre (VCC) and two major exhibitions which will all be delivered in stages between 2013 and 2015.
Tank Museum Director Richard Smith said;
‘This is a pivotal moment in the history of The Tank Museum.
The support of the Heritage Lottery Fund will ensure that we can continue to thrive, so we are naturally delighted and extremely grateful.’
For the first time ever, The Tank Museum will have the space to ensure that every vehicle in its collection can be stored undercover in conditions suitable for their long-term conservation.
‘This means that the museum can continue to collect historically significant armoured fighting vehicles and retain its status as the best collection of its kind in the world,’ said Richard. ‘We will also have the facilities to enable on-going volunteer-led conservation projects and allow us to re-launch our award-winning engineering training programme for groups of young offenders.’
To mark the centenary of the First World War in 2014, War Horse to Horse Power will be the first of two major new exhibitions at the Museum.
Following this, the Museum will broaden its narrative even further with an exhibition titled Making Tanks which is set for completion in 2015.
‘Both these exhibitions seek to improve the way The Tank Museum tells this broad and complex story, and will add a great deal to the visitors’ experience and comprehension of our subject matter,’ Richard added.
The grant follows the success of a major HLF funded redevelopment of The Tank Museum which was completed in 2009.
Richard Bellamy, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said
‘We are delighted to be supporting this fantastic project which will totally transform the way visitors interact with the Tank Museum’s impressive collection. The VCC will provide vastly improved space for some of the museum’s most ‘at risk’ vehicles and allow the public and volunteers to witness the conservation progress in action. This is a great opportunity for everyone to get involved and learn about these complex machines and their role in history over the years.’
The Tank Museum must now raise a further £2.5m to match fund the HLF contribution to the project.