These are the active members. They restore and maintain the vehicle collection of the RAM. They do not require any special skills, some healthy enthusiasm and mechanical and historical interest in these vehicles will put you on your way.
The activities of the volunteers are demanding. They sacrifice a great deal of their spare time for “their” vehicles, but they have the privilege to bring these beasts of war back to life.
To become a volunteer, you have to be member. So pay up your contribution.
By being a member you are covered by insurance as soon as you enter the depots.
You browsed the site and were tickled by what you saw and now want to help out.
Volunteer- a challenge!
Basically a volunteer is the same as any other member of any other organisation. You are part of a group of people that takes part in activities in their own interest area.
However, there is a twist… As volunteer of the Tankmuseum you work with “heavy metal”. Every weekend volunteers occupy themselves with machines up to 50 tonnes and engines of 400HP or more. Safety is of the prime importance!
You also work in close co-operation with military personnel, on military premises and with military equipment; this also comprises certain rules and regulations.
If you want to join, you will have to become a member first. If this is settled, contact the one of the responsibles of one of the depots.
The responsibles will tell you what we expect of you and instruct you on safety issues.
You then will be appointed a mentor. This person will show you the ropes for a period of about 3 months. You will get to know the structure, your colleagues, procedures and your duties within the Tankmuseum.
After this period you will be assigned in one of the restoration teams (most likely that of your mentor) en become an independent volunteer..
Now, getting cracking!
As a volunteer you can be called upon for a wide variety of tasks. Of course they most of the time the core tasks within the Tankmuseum. This of course is the restoration and maintenance of the vehicles.
Maintenance is… well, maintenance. It is maintaining the restored running vehicles in running condition. Basically this is the same as the maintenance on your car. Checking oil levels, hydraulic levels and cooling liquid levels, small mechanical adjustments and repairs.
Restoration is another matter. These are in most cases projects that can span some months or even years. In these cases near wrecks or non running vehicles are completely disassembled. Bit by bit they are cleaned, repaired or painted and re-assembled back to a (fully) functioning vehicle.
It is a massive job, but it is an enormously satisfying job.!!
Highlight of a day’s hard work is a test run with the functioning vehicle. There is nothing more enjoyable for a volunteer to see, hear, feel and even smell his vehicle where so much effort and time went into.
You can become a driver after some years of experience as a volunteer. However the minimum required license is a civil truck drivers license (c-type with medical approval OK).
The most memorable moments for the volunteers are the yearly events in which they participate with their vehicles. This is their chance to show their hard work to the public.
In the Depot Kapellen you can subscribe for guided tours, but we also participate in events organised by the armed forces which are open to the public.
Besides these you can also find us on other military inspired events, among these Wings and Wheels in Ursel, Tanks in Town in Mons and other smaller events and remembrance ceremonies.
Sometimes we get special requests. Props for movies or international shows or parades, you name it we do it. Our vehicles have already been in Paris, London, The Hague and even in the USA.
You can become a volunteer starting from the age of 12. However until you are 16 you will work under supervision. From that age on there are no more restrictions.
As long as you feel yourself physically able, you are welcome.
Our volunteers are from all over Belgium and we even have some foreign volunteers that regularly make the long voyage from for instance Germany or the Netherlands. So besides Belgians we have Dutch, Germans, and Poles…
You do not have to be a mechanical genius. A sound interest in the history of the vehicles and eagerness to learn about them should set you on your way.Teamwork spirit is a must as you will be working with all kinds of people.
Did we get you interested?