Washington state museum installing in 'tank arena'

Jan. 17, 2014 at 7:14 PM
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EVERETT, Wash., Jan. 17 (UPI) -- A Washington state museum said it is putting together a 26,000-square-foot "tank arena" to show the capabilities of World War II-era tanks in its collection.

Adrian Hunt, executive director of Paul Allen's Flying Heritage Collection in Everett, said the museum owns a U.S. M4A1 Sherman, a Soviet T-34 and a German Jagdpanzer 38(T) Hetzer tank destroyer, but the vehicles have only been able to give public demonstrations on mats in the parking lot, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Friday.

"That really limits the kind of show we can put on and it limits how much we can exercise them for maintenance purposes," Hunt said. "So what we need is basically a dirt pit where tanks can do what they do best, which is drive around in the mud."

Hunt said the solution officials decided on was to construct a "tank arena" in behind its main hangar.

The Sherman tank was employed Wednesday to ceremoniously knock down the wall of an office building being demolished to make way for the arena.

"The tank arena is going to have different elevations and kind of humps and knolls in it, so you get to see a little more action, a little more turning," said Jason Muszala, collection maintenance and restoration manager.

Construction on the arena is expected to be completed in time for the collection's Memorial Day TankFest Northwest event.

"These tanks will really be able to let rip," Hunt said. "We definitely want to put on a little bit of a show."

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