Tank Museum

The Tank Museum in Bovington Dorset houses the world's largest and finest collection of Armoured Fighting Vehicles from unique World War 1 tanks to the latest main battle tank of the British Army - Challenger. The Museum has a collection of almost 300 vehicles from over 26 countries.

The Tank Museum provides an extensive Education Service, which is linked to the National Curriculum.

A major research centre for historians and enthusiasts, The Tank Museum library holds one of the largest collections of publications on armoured warfare and associated subjects in the world. This includes serious textbooks on tank design, popular monographs, regimental histories and books dealing with uniforms and weapons.

£15 million has been spent on a new building and events area which will be opened in Spring 2009.  There will also be an RAC Memorial to commemorate all personnel from the Royal Armoured Corps who have died on operations since the end of WW2.

You can visit the Tank Museum website by clicking here.

Background

For many years prior to 1960 a number of vehicles and items of historical interest had been gathered at Bovington Camp; but the collection had not been accorded legal protection.

To provide that protection the Royal Tank Regiment Museum Trust was formed in 1960 for the purpose: 'of upholding the traditions of the Regiment and of perpetuating its deeds'.

Similarly in 1960 a Trust for the RAC Tank Museum was set up to protect those items which were of a 'RAC as a whole' nature. Thus the RAC Tank Museum and the RTR Tank Museum operated from the start in unison within the same buildings and with the same curatorial staff.

By 1976 it had become impossible, in many cases, to identify the true ownership of the exhibits. For instance, a particular tank might have seen service with both RTR and cavalry regiments.


Formation

In 1976 it was decided for practical and legal reasons to merge the two museums into one and to form the Tank Museum under a new Deed of Trust. This was effected in 1978 and the title of the new museum became: THE TANK MUSEUM (Incorporating The Corps Museum of the Royal Armoured Corps and The Regimental Museum of the Royal Tank Regiment)


Management

Trustees - Of the trustees permitted by the Trust Deed one ex-officio appointment is reserved to the Regiment for the Colonel Commandant.


Acquisitions

Commanding Officers are required to ensure that only items having a direct affinity with an individual regiment are retained in regimental museums and that all other items coming to hand are offered to The Tank Museum.

In 1996 the Tank Museum Trust document was amended to ensure that no gifted RTR items could be disposed of without the Colonel Commandants authority.