|Public transit access||Wool railway station|
The Tank Museum (previously The Bovington Tank Museum) is a collection of armoured fighting vehicles at Bovington Camp in Dorset, South West England. It is about 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the village of Wool and 12 miles (19 km) west of the major port of Poole. The collection traces the history of the tank. With almost 300 vehicles on exhibition from 26 countries it is the largest collection of tanks and the third largest collection of armoured vehicles in the world.[Note 1] It includes Tiger 131, the only working example of a German Tiger I tank, and a British First World War Mark I, the world's oldest surviving combat tank. It is the museum of the Royal Tank Regiment and the Royal Armoured Corps and is a registered charity.
The writer Rudyard Kipling visited Bovington in 1923 and, after viewing the damaged tanks that had been salvaged at the end of the First World War, recommended a museum should be set up. Accordingly a shed was established to house the collection but was not opened to the general public until 1947.
George Forty, who was appointed Director of the Museum in 1982, expanded and modernized the collection. He retired in 1993 after which he received an OBE. The museum established its own YouTube channel to teach about the tanks in January 2010.David Fletcher, who had been an historian at the museum since 1982, retired in 2012 and was also appointed an MBE "for his services to the history of armoured warfare".
As well as containing the majority of the museum's World War I tanks this hall tells the story of men who crewed the first tanks between 1916 and 1918.
This hall now explores the rise of the tank and the role of the cavalry on the Western Front.
This hall displays the biggest section, with tanks from most nations involved in the conflict.
This hall contains the Battlegroup Afghanistan exhibition. The men of the Royal Armoured Corps who have been involved in some of the fiercest fighting since World War Two.
This hall holds some of the most important tanks and AFVs in history, with a supporting collection housed in a multimedia exhibition. It follows the story of the tank, from its invention in 1915 through the 20th century and into the future.
The Vehicle Conservation Centre provides cover for more of the collection and puts on view vehicles that had previously not been seen by the public.