Southern Indiana War Museum Asking Residents to Help ‘Name the Tank’
In case you didn't know, Evansville has a wartime museum appropriately called, the Evansville Wartime Museum. If you've never been, it's definitely worth a trip at some point. It features a number of artifacts and historical information about Evansville's role in World War II including vehicles and a P47 Thunderbolt airplane which were built in town at the former Whirlpool factory on the corner of Highway 41 and St. George Road during the war. Last summer, the museum acquired a 1942 M4 Sherman Tank to add to its collection, and they're asking you to come up with a name for it.
Naming Contests Don't Always Work Out as Planned
While the idea of letting the public name a particular object is a fun concept as it gives them some ownership of it, it doesn't always play out as intended. For example, back in 2016, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) in Britain gave residents the opportunity to name a new research ship it had recently added that would be used to explore the arctic. Harmless, right? Why not give the public a chance to be excited about what this ship may discover by letting them have some "ownership" of it? Well, it didn't take long for the internet to make a mockery of the whole thing, and when voting closed, the name "Boaty McBoatface" was the clear winner. However, the final say went to the chief executive of the NERC who ultimately named it after the famous British biologist and broadcaster, Sir David Attenborough.
It wasn't the first, nor the last time a group or company had the seemingly fun and innocent idea of letting the public name an inanimate object blow up in their face. As The Guardian noted in its article about Boaty, before the NERC conducted its campaign, other groups and companies ran into similar issues with the public overwhelming voting to give something a nonsensical name. However, the Boaty saga seemed to gain the most attention leading various communities to want to give an object the last name, "Mc<whatever>face." For example, Emily Petsko noted in a 2018 article for Mental Floss that the after-effects of the Boaty story included an owl being named, Hooty McOwlface, and Botty McBotface being suggested for a pipe-inspecting robot in Kansas City.
How to Submit a Name to the Wartime Museum's 'Name the Tank' Campaign
It's unlikely the Wartime Museum's "Name the Tank" Campaign will follow that trend as organizers have implemented a rule that should prevent it from happening. The name you suggest must be two words or less and have an Evansville or World War II theme. So, no Evan McEvansvilleface, then?
You can submit your suggestion in one of three ways; you can stop by the museum at 7503 Petersburg Road, just east of Highway 41, and pick up a form, or you can make your suggestion online through the museum's website or Facebook page.
What the Winning Entry Receives
In addition to being able to tell everyone you named a tank, which is cool humble brag in its own right, you'll also get an Evansville Wartime Museum t-shirt, a one-year membership to the museum, and the best part (in my opinion), you'll get to ride in the tank you named!
The deadline for submissions is March 12th with the winner announced on April 1st.
[Source: Evansville Wartime Museum on Facebook]