Where is the Bovington Tank Museum and why has it gone viral?

The museum is located near the Bovington military camp (PA Wire)
The museum is located near the Bovington military camp (PA Wire)

The Tank Museum, located right by a military base in the beautiful village of Bovington, is home to around 300 armoured vehicles.

The Dorset Museum is said to attract a few hundred thousand visitors a year, so compared to other museums across the UK, it is, by no means, a frontrunner.

However, 2023 saw the establishment become the first museum in the world to get 100 million views on YouTube.

Here is a look at the museum’s unexpected internet success.

What is the Bovington Tank Museum’s background?

The Tank Museum was founded in 1923 and originally only allowed military personnel.

Back in the day, it was right by a secret military base and in a place that was considered to be hidden away from the public gaze.

In 1947, it opened its doors to the public and has been welcoming visitors since.

It is home to some of the world’s most impressive tanks, including the very first tank to be produced that’s known as “Little Willie” and the only working Tiger 1 tank, the vehicle used by the Germans in World War II.

Why has the Bovington Tank Museum gone viral?

The Bovington Tank Museum currently has over half a million subscribers on YouTube. To put its internet success into perspective, it has surpassed The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), which has 519, 000, and the Louvre, which has 106, 000.

The Tank Museum shares weekly videos that range from very detailed discussions on tank history and curators sharing their favourite armoured vehicles to how tanks are being used in Ukraine.

It all started when the museum’s head of marketing, Nik Wyness, and his team wanted to raise the museum’s profile and attract more visitors.

He explained: “No one is going to visit us if they don’t know we exist.”

Their first YouTube videos weren’t hits compared to their later success. But, once they started a series called Tank Chats in 2015, which saw a military historian named David Fletcher discuss their tanks’ rich history and sometimes touch on their tracks and engine systems, the viewers started to flock to the channel.

Today, to keep up with its huge online audience, the museum has a team of 10 people who solely work on its YouTube presence, and more than a quarter of its turnover is generated online.