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Dippy on Tour announced as Partnership of the Year at Museums and Heritage Awards 2019

‘Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure’ is a three-year UK-wide tour of the Museum’s iconic 26-metre-long Diplodocus cast, Dippy’ The tour was the brainchild of the Natural History Museum in partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation.

The Natural History Museum’s ‘Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure’ has won the Partnership of the Year award at the Museums and Heritage Awards 2019. 

The awards celebrate innovative and ground-breaking initiatives from museums, galleries and heritage visitor attractions across the UK and overseas. There were 14 categories awarded on the night, of which the Natural History Museum was nominated for three. 

‘Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure’ is a three-year UK-wide tour of the Museum’s iconic 26-metre-long Diplodocus cast, ‘Dippy’. The tour was the brainchild of the Natural History Museum in partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation. Judges were struck by the generosity of the partnership and praised the tour for being “enormously successful and brilliantly transformative for all involved”. 

Dippy’s hosts in 2018 included Dorset County Museum (DCM), Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) and Ulster Museum in Belfast (UM). The partner venues each created a unique exhibition for the tour showcasing their natural history collections and worked closely with the internal teams at the Natural History Museum to deliver the partnership. The communications delivered by all partners reached over 78 million people. 

The key aims of the partnership were to connect audiences with nature and inspire the next generation of scientists, challenge the way people think about the natural world, and provide opportunity to celebrate UK collections and natural history, as well as deliver a legacy for the host venue and region. A study of visitors found that 70% (DCM) or 80% (BMA) either strongly agreed or agreed that the exhibition  made them think about their relationship with the natural world (UM data not yet available).

The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) revealed the monster impact of the UK-wide ‘Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure’ which has broken records in every venue visited so far. The positive economic and social impact of the Tour on partner’s communities was dubbed the ‘Dippy Effect’ by Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Michael Ellis. At the half-way point, Dippy on Tour has now achieved over one million visitors and is well on the way to achieving the goal of introducing more than 1.5 million people to this awe-inspiring exhibit. 

Sir Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum, says:
“We are delighted that Dippy on Tour has won the Partnership of the Year Award in recognition of the collaborative effort that has made the tour -a continuing success. It is by forging these relationships that we can bring awe inspiring exhibits, such as Dippy, to audiences outside of London. Over one million visitors have been to see Dippy so far across the UK and many thousands of people have taken part in local activities to explore nature. This milestone was made only possible through the hard work of all the many partners involved and it is hoped that many more people will continue to be thrilled by Dippy and engage with nature on their doorstep through this continuing collaboration.” 

Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the valuable partnerships being built through Dippy on Tour have been recognised by the Museum and Heritage Awards. The Natural History Museum and our partner museums all have a passionate common goal – to inspire the next generation to care for our natural world, and what a brilliant job they are all doing. We look forward to many more people experiencing the delights of Dippy as he continues his Tour across the country.” 

Clare Matterson, Director of Engagement said in the acceptance speech: “Dippy will be so pleased. He’s been to Dorset. Birmingham, Northern Ireland, Glasgow, he’s opening in Newcastle next week. It has been a truly fantastic adventure for all of us, and for all of our partners. Dippy has made friends wherever he has gone and is going to continue to do that with a wonderful legacy, thank you to everybody, thank you to the team and all of our partners. Thank you to the dinosaurs.” 

Kathryn Thomson, Chief Executive for National Museums NI, commented: “National Museums NI has been so pleased to have been a part of the nationwide Dippy tour and to have worked in partnership with the Natural History Museum and the other venues on such an exciting project. The exhibition has encouraged tens of thousands of visitors, of all ages, to explore, discover and find out how they can get involved and protect the nature on their doorstep in Northern Ireland – a very fitting legacy to a truly inspiring project.”

Janine Eason, Director of Engagement at Birmingham Museums Trust, said: “Working with the Natural History Museum on the Dippy on Tour partnership was a brilliant experience for us at Birmingham Museums Trust. The Birmingham exhibition was extremely popular, and the impact was felt right across the city, showing the power that museum objects can have.”

Jon Murden, Director, Dorset County Museum said: “Dippy on Tour was an amazing experience for Dorset County Museum and was partnership working at its very best. It is helping us transform the Museum, opening up new possibilities and new audiences. The community really took Dippy into their hearts, and the result was an exhibition that no one in Dorset will ever forget”.

Remaining venues and tour dates for Dippy on Tour:


Notes for editors

 Media contact: Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5654/ (0)779 969 0151 Email:

About 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 around five million visitors each year and our website receives over 850,000 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. 

Dippy on Tour

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.