The successes of Dippy on Tour

Between 2018-2021 Dippy, the Museum's iconic Diplodocus cast, went on a natural history adventure across the UK.

By encouraging people to explore and cherish the biodiversity around them, the tour had a big impact on people and places everywhere it went.

Dippy visited eight venues across the UK and was seen by over 2,100,000 visitors.

Dippy in Numbers

Facts and figures from Dippy on Tour

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While manning the time tunnel in the cloisters during a busy August session, I was holding back the visitors to create social distancing. The next family in line had a five year old and three year old boys. I asked the eldest lad was he excited about his visit to see Dippy. He replied, 'Yes I am, because when I’m older I’m going to be a palaeontologist.' His parents jaws dropped and were dumbfounded and asked, 'What’s one of those?'.

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Cliff Plastow

Norwich Cathedral volunteer

Facts and figures from the hosting venues

Dorset County Museum, Dorset

Total visitors: 153,189

Key success: 201 volunteers donated nearly 12,000 hours of time

Dippy's tour started at Dorset County Museum, where he took advantage of the local Jurassic Coast to learn more about fossils.

The exhibiton showed how popular Dippy would prove to be - visitor numbers surpassed the venue's annual figures in under three months. A highlight was the farewell parade through the town centre, attended by more than 250 local children.

Ulster Museum, Belfast

Total visitors: 131,902

Key success: 100% of visitors said their interest in science had increased after visiting the Dippy exhibition

Dippy then crossed the Irish Sea to visit the Ulster Museum. The focus of this exhibition was on the local natural history of Ireland.

Dippy showed how he could draw in new people: the museum had their busiest day ever during the run and a visitor survey discovered that 14% of visitors questioned had never been to the museum before.

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle upon Tyne

Total visitors: 304,928

Key success: 10,355 school students participated in learning programmes in Newcastle as part of the tour

Dippy's spent the summer of 2019 at Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle upon Tyne, where the accompanying exhibition provided a thought-provoking exploration of the effects of climate change.

The venue saw a large uplift in visitor numbers - 51% more visitors than over a comparable time period before Dippy's visit. 75% of visitors questioned had never seen Dippy before.

Number One Riverside, Rochdale

Total visitors: 166,172

Key success: Visitor numbers were up by 1031% compared  to the previous year, before the exhibition was forced to close

Dippy's penultimate stop was at Number One Riverside, Rochdale. The accompanying exhibition was hosted nearby at Touchstones, and explored biodiversity and sustainability.

The pandemic meant that the tour did not have a full uninterrupted run, but while in Rochdale, Dippy became a proud owner of an iconic oversized Blue Peter badge!

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Total visitors: 255,548

Key success: £4.2 million was spent by visitors in the city centre as part of their visit

Dippy's second stop was at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, where the accompanying exhibition examined the relationship between dinosaurs and birds.

Over a quarter of a million people visited Dippy over his 107-day stay, making the tour the most successful temporary exhibition ever at the venue.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow

Total visitors: 643,794

Key success: The total visitors to Dippy smashed the orginal target for Glasgow by 390,000

Dippy's fourth stop was Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow.

The tour was fulfilling one of its aims - providing access to a star specimen to people who could not travel to London. When surveyed, 86% of visitors questioned said they had not seen Dippy before.  

During Dippy's stay at Kelvingrove, the tour surpassed its one-millionth in-person visitor.

National Museum Cardiff

Total visitors: 213,740

Key success: Cardiff collaborated with their Youth Forum, who contributed 506 hours of time to co-design the exhibition

Dippy's sixth stop was at National Museum Cardiff, where the accompanying exhibition explored environmental issues and sustainability.

As in other venues, the tour and the extra visitors it attracted provided important extra income to its hosting museum. Compared to the same period the year before, the museum shop almost doubled its revenue.

Norwich Cathedral

Total visitors: 234,605

Key success: 12,00 people made climate pledges of positive actions they would take to support the planet

Dippy's final stop was in the nave at  Norwich Cathedral, with accompanying installations situated around the cathedral buildings including the cloisters.

Dippy was visited by over 10,000 school children and 180 volunteers contributed over 9,000 hours of time to help with the visit.

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I was taken to the Natural History Museum when I was seven by my father and he showed me Dippy for the first time…and ever after that I  wanted to work in a museum and study rocks and fossils.

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Dr Mike Simms

Ulster Museum, Belfast