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Dippy on Tour opens tomorrow in Newcastle for North East debut

Dippy, the Natural History Museum London’s famous Diplodocus cast, has returned to England and made his way to Newcastle University’s Great North Museum: Hancock. 

The fifth stop of Dippy on Tour follows an extremely successful stay at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery, where the significant milestone of one million visitors overall was reached. Kelvingrove also reported record breaking numbers, with 643,000 visitors during Dippy’s three month stay, making it their most successful free temporary exhibition to date. Dippy now hopes to wow audiences in the North East.

Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure is being brought to the Great North Museum: Hancock and visitors across the UK by the Natural History Museum in partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation, and supported by Dell EMC and Williams & Hill.

Director of the Natural History Museum, Sir Michael Dixon, said: ‘It is with great excitement that Dippy reaches the fifth venue of his UK tour. Having already been seen by one million visitors we are sure that our much loved and charismatic dinosaur will also prove a hit in Newcastle.’

Dippy on Tour has broken visitor number records at every venue so far and had a huge social and economic impact, benefiting the surrounding communities of our touring partner venues.’

‘We wish Newcastle University’s Great North Museum every success and hope that their visitors will enjoy the fantastic supporting exhibition and array of activities.’

Dippy on Tour’s continued success was recently referred to as the “Dippy phenomenon” by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) who cited the dinosaur as a reason for an increase of 38% (831,548 visits) to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the second stop of the tour.

Over the last week, expert conservators have spent 50 hours assembling the 292-bone, 21-metre-long skeleton cast in the Great North Museum’s exhibition hall making sure Dippy looks his best for a whole new audience.

Caroline McDonald, Manager at the Great North Museum: Hancock, said: ‘It’s a privilege to be the only north east venue on the UK tour and we’re sure that Dippy will be incredibly popular with our visitors. We’re just about to reach our 10th anniversary as the Great North Museum: Hancock and can’t think of a better guest to help us mark the occasion.’

Dippy on tour aims to reconnect people with the natural world, instil a passion for nature in children and encourage families to venture out into green spaces wherever they live. At every venue unique exhibitions have supported Dippy’s mission and explored our planet in new and exciting ways.

Complimenting Dippy on Tour at the Great North Museum: Hancock is a temporary exhibition covering topics such as extinction, local nature conservation and climate change. An audio-visual installation will display a timeline that runs from the Jurassic period to the present day, showing how human activity has affected planet earth and what our future could look like if we continue on the present course.

Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation, said: “We are very excited that Dippy is about to meet visitors in Newcastle on the fifth stop of his tour. Having been seen by over one million people at the first four venues, we know he will continue to inspire people to explore the nature on their doorstep and think about the part they play in protecting it.”

Over 40,000 free tickets have already been booked for the Newcastle exhibition, with the dinosaur expected to attract 200,000 visitors by the end of the run. With limited walk up tickets available, online booking in advance is recommended to avoid disappointment.

Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure is at the Great North Museum: Hancock from 18 May to 6 October.



Notes to Editors

Tour Dates

Dorset County Museum, 10 February - 7 May 2018

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, 26 May - 9 September 2018

Ulster Museum, 28 September 2018 - 6 January 2019

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, 22 January - 5 May 2019

Great North Museum, Hancock, Newcastle upon Tyne, 18 May - 6 October 2019

National Museum Cardiff, 19 October 2019 - 26 January 2020

Number One Riverside, Rochdale, 10 February - 28 June 2020

Norwich Cathedral, 11 July - 31 October 2020

The Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum exists to inspire a love of the natural world and unlock answers to the big issues facing humanity and the planet. It is a world-leading science research centre, and through its unique collection and unrivalled expertise it is tackling issues such as food security, eradicating diseases and managing resource scarcity.

The Natural History Museum is the most visited natural history museum in Europe and the top science attraction in the UK; we welcome more than five million visitors each year and our website receives over 500,000 unique visitors a month. People come from around the world to enjoy our galleries and events and engage both in-person and online with our science and educational activities through innovative programmes and citizen science projects.

In partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation

Established over 60 years ago in 1958, the Garfield Weston Foundation is a family-founded, grant-making charity which supports causes across the UK with grants around £70million annually. It has donated over £1billion to charities since it was established.

One of the most respected charitable institutions in the UK, the Weston Family Trustees are descendants of the founder and they take a highly active and hands-on approach. The Foundation’s funding comes from an endowment of shares in the family business which includes Twinings, Primark, Kingsmill (all part of Associated British Foods Plc) and Fortnum & Mason, amongst others – a successful model that still endures today; as the businesses have grown so too have the charitable donations.

From small community organisations to large national institutions, the Foundation supports a broad range of charities and activities that make a positive impact in the communities in which they work. More than 1,800 charities across the UK benefit each year from the Foundation’s grants.

Tour Sponsors


Dell EMC, a part of Dell Technologies, enables organizations to modernize, automate and transform their data center using industry-leading converged infrastructure, servers, storage and data protection technologies. This provides a trusted foundation for businesses to transform IT, through the creation of a hybrid cloud, and transform their business through the creation of cloud-native applications and big data solutions. As a supplier of the Natural History Museum, Dell EMC technology has supported the work of its scientists for many years. Through Dippy on Tour, Dell EMC and the Natural History Museum have the opportunity to inspire the next generation of scientists and encourage them to engage with the natural world. The digital world has a huge role to play in this, and the web app Dippy’s Naturenauts created as part of this partnership, demonstrates the role online and mobile technology can play in encouraging people to explore the outside world.

Williams & Hill

Williams & Hill have built up a reputation for excellence by firmly establishing themselves as the leading ‘Specialised Transporter of Fine Art, Antiques, Design Furniture and Decorative Objects’. With a highly experienced team working for the world’s major galleries and exhibition venues – they have a true understanding of the requirements for methodical care, consideration and appreciation of whatever may be in their care. No two days are the same, and the excitement of working in their own ever changing art gallery never fades.

Tour venues and partners

Dorset County Museum is one of the leading independent, charitable, heritage organisations in the Southwest of England. It has a learned Society with 2000 members and receives over 47,000 visitors a year. Its diverse collections contain over 4 million objects including internationally significant geology, archaeology and literary collections. The Museum is a registered charity and operates independently with financial support from Dorset County Council and West Dorset District Council. In May 2015 the Museum was awarded £11.3million from the Heritage Lottery Fund to enable an ambitious redevelopment project.

The Jurassic Coast was designated England’s only natural World Heritage Site in 2001. Day to day site Management of the Jurassic Coast is the work of the Jurassic Coast Trust, a small independent charity with a huge remit.  The Trust works to inspire people to love, understand and value the Jurassic Coast, and was instrumental in bringing Dippy down to Dorset in collaboration with the County Museum.

Birmingham Museums Trust is an independent charity that manages the city’s museum collection and venues on behalf of Birmingham City Council. It uses the collection of around 800,000 objects to provide a wide range of arts, cultural and historical experiences, events and activities that deliver accessible learning, creativity and enjoyment for citizens and visitors to the city. Attracting over one million visits a year, the Trust’s venues include Aston Hall, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Blakesley Hall, Museum Collections Centre, Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Sarehole Mill, Soho House, Thinktank and Weoley Castle.

Come face to face with dinosaurs, meet an Ancient Egyptian Mummy and see modern masterpieces with a visit to the Ulster Museum. As Northern Ireland’s treasure house of the past and present, the museum is home to a rich collection of art, history and natural sciences and free to all visitors. The Ulster Museum, part of National Museums Northern Ireland, welcomes nearly half a million visitors annually.

Glasgow Life is the charity which runs services and facilities on behalf of Glasgow City Council. We work in every area of the city and with every community to try and inspire Glasgow’s citizens and visitors to lead richer and more active lives through culture, sport and learning. More than 18 million attendances were recorded to the facilities that we run across the city between 2015 and 2016. Glasgow Museums is the largest museum service in the UK outside London and operates nine easy to reach, accessible and family friendly venues across the city. We are open year-round and entry is free. Glasgow Museums house an extraordinary permanent collection of fine art, historic objects and natural history exhibited in some of Glasgow’s most stunning public buildings.

Great North Museum: Hancock is managed by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums on behalf of Newcastle University. The Museum brings together the North East’s premier collections of archaeology, natural history, geology and world cultures under one roof. It incorporates collections from the original Hancock Museum, Newcastle University’s former Museum of Antiquities and the Shefton Museum. The Great North Museum is a partnership between Newcastle University, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, Newcastle City Council, the Natural History Society of Northumbria (NHSN) and the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne (SANT).

Situated in the heart of Cardiff’s elegant civic centre, National Museum Cardiff houses Wales’s national art, geology and natural history collections as well as major touring and temporary exhibitions. On the ground floor of the museum, take an amazing journey in The Evolution of Wales from the very beginnings of time to the present day. The story begins in space with the Big Bang and takes you on a 4,600 million-year journey, bringing you face to face with dinosaurs and woolly mammoths along the way. Witness Wales's diverse natural history on an expedition that begins at the seashore and ends in the mountains. Experience some of the unique environments that make Wales home to over 900 Sites of Special Scientific Interest. The art collection at National Museum Cardiff is one of Europe's finest and includes five hundred years of magnificent paintings, drawings, sculpture, silver and ceramics from Wales and across the world, including one of Europe's best collections of Impressionist art.

Rochdale Borough Council is a local authority in the North West of England which serves more than 200,000 residents. Sitting in the foothills of the Pennines and close to the major cities of Manchester and Leeds, the council is playing a key role in the Northern Powerhouse, and its priorities are people, place and prosperity. Link4Life is the Rochdale Boroughwide Cultural Trust, delivering leisure and cultural provision across the Rochdale borough, including the award-winning arts and heritage centre, Touchstones Rochdale.

Norwich Cathedral is a Christian presence in the heart of Norfolk and the Diocese of Norwich. It began, over 900 years ago, as the Cathedral church of a Benedictine Monastery, built to inspire by its sheer size and magnificence. The Cathedral continues to fill today’s visitors with a sense of awe and wonder. The primary purpose of a Cathedral is to be a place of Christian worship. It was at the centre of the monastery and the focus of the monks’ most important work, the worship of God. Norwich Cathedral is also the focus of both city and county life. As well as playing host to special civic and legal services, it is also a venue for concerts, talks, exhibitions, degree ceremonies and other community events.