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According to wikipedia, the Doctor took the Tardis from a museum.

The Doctor's TARDIS was for most of the series' history said to have been stolen from the Time Lords' home planet, Gallifrey, where it was old, decommissioned and derelict (and, in fact, in a museum). However, during the events of "The Doctor's Wife" (2011), the ship's consciousness briefly inhabits a human body named Idris, and she reveals that far from being stolen, she left of her own free will.

(I vaguely remember hearing/reading this elsewhere although I am not sure it was ever mentioned in the new series.)

Why was the Tardis in a museum to begin with? Presumably, that would mean it was something special. Either used by a dignitary, first of its kind, or perhaps a Gallifreynian video performance of Space Oddity was filmed in it.

Has it ever been discussed?

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    "The Name of the Doctor" said that the Tardis was stolen from a repair facility, not a museum. – Martha May 21 '13 at 13:47
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    For the record, you don't always have to be famous to be in a museum. Sometimes all it takes is to be the last of a thing that was famous once upon a time. Museums are filled with artifacts that are the only representative copy of something from an earlier age. – Thaddeus Howze May 21 '13 at 15:39
  • @Thaddeus Yes, that is why I said "something special" I just didn't include that in my examples :) Good point though – Joe May 21 '13 at 15:43
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    @Martha The 4th Doctor also claimed the TARDIS was in for repairs when he stole it; I've never heard it claimed that it was in a musesum so I'm going with the standard "wikipedia is wrong" explanation :) – KutuluMike May 21 '13 at 18:55
  • There are many "origin stories" about where he took the TARDIS from. Some stories speak of a junkyard... – Mr Lister May 22 '13 at 18:48
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According to canon, the tardis was a relic at the time of being "stolen" by the first doctor.

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TARDIS

In the programme, the Doctor's TARDIS is an obsolete "Type 40 TT capsule" that he unofficially "borrowed" from the repair shop when he departed his home planet of Gallifrey. He was stopped while following Susan into a TARDIS, by Clara Oswald who opined that he was about to make a terrible mistake and advised him to instead take the adjacent unit. She explained that second ship's navigation system was malfunctioning but he would have much more fun with it.[21]

Tardis Data Core: http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/The_Doctor's_TARDIS

When the Doctor first decided to leave Gallifrey, he had the chance to take a Type 53, but dismissed it as "soulless" in favour of the Type 40. (PROSE: Lungbarrow) although he did receive a recommendation for the Type 40 from a mysterious young woman. (TV: The Name of the Doctor) The TARDIS herself said she was "a museum piece", though this may have been figurative. (TV: The Doctor's Wife)

So the Tardis referred to herself as a museum piece, meaning a relic, old, obsolete.

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She meant that she was old but I would like to add that the reason that she was in the repair shop in the first place is that she was getting her chamelion circuit repaired (hehe) and that the TimeLords thought she was crazy. The T.A.R.D.I.S knew that the Time War was coming and nobody believed her. Just think. If someone had just listened...

  • The chameleon circuit worked during her first timey-wimey translation when she took the form of a police box: Judging by The Name of the Doctor episode, that was rather her navigational tricks who bought her to the repair shop. – Eureka Dec 22 '13 at 9:14
  • How did she know the war was coming? When was it discussed? – Mafalda Hopkirk Jan 25 '16 at 12:47
  • @MafaldaHopkirk The TARDIS is a time machine. She knew the war was coming because she was there. – Mr Lister Jun 11 '17 at 14:12

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