On Track For Completion
A major milestone in the £16 million Tank Museum redevelopment project has been reached, with the completion of building work on site.
The new 5000sqm2 display hall, new reception, gift shop, visitor facilities and restaurant was completed and handed over to the Museum last week.
Museum spokesman Nik Wyness said; “We have been watching our vision become a reality the last year – but there is still four months of hard work ahead of us as the new exhibition hall is fitted out.
“The new visitor facilities (the admissions point, restaurant, and gift shop) are set to be operational from the 12th September, but visitors will have to wait until at least January next year before the new display hall is open to the public,” Nik added.
The new tank arena, also part of the Heritage Lottery Funded project, was completed in time for Tankfest in June 2008. Spectators were treated to vastly improved views of arena events; with banked viewing areas and a new sound system improving the quality of in-show commentary. The arena has also been used throughout the summer for daily tank action displays.
Museum Workshop staff are now working to move the thirty tanks that will form the basis of the new exhibition from their existing locations in the present Museum halls. Only then can the process of installing the exhibition hardware begin in earnest.
But this is no simple task, as Nik explains; “Many of the vehicles being transported have not been moved at all for at least 25 years. Like all mechanical objects we are not 100% sure of the condition they are in or what problems might be encountered in manoeuvring them.
“Some will run under their own power, many will have to be towed, but they must all be treated with the upmost care as even though they are tanks – and built for warfare - they are now historical relics of varying fragility. Cutting corners is not an option and every movement has to be planned in the smallest detail.”
The Tank Museum is now planning a spectacular launch event and an official Royal Opening for the new exhibition hall in April 2009.
The Mark II is transported from the Museum into the New Display Hall. Due to the fragility of this 90 year old veteran, it had to be carefully loaded onto a transporter to be moved a distance of about 600m.
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