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The Natural History Museum is to tour this British icon that has inspired generations of scientists.
The Natural History Museum today announces plans to send its famous Diplodocus, Dippy, on tour around the UK from early 2018. The Museum will hold an open call in September for indoor museums and venues to nominate themselves to host the Diplodocus.
The tour will mean more people than ever can see the iconic dinosaur which has famously welcomed millions of people to the London museum.
The ambition is for Dippy to visit all the nations of the UK, with a programme of events and educational activities in the venue and across a host city.
Key considerations for venues will be space, security and the scope to reach a large and diverse audience. The open call will launch in September and venues can register interest via www.nhm.ac.uk/dippyontour
“For many of us, that first glimpse of Dippy was a formative moment in our childhood, evoking awe and a genuine wonder at the natural world. A UK tour of this iconic dinosaur will surely prompt curiosity and a desire to explore, helping to inspire the scientists of tomorrow,” said Sir Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum.
“Generating those ‘lights on’ moments for as many people as possible is at the heart of what museums give to the nation.”
He continues: “Dippy needs to be handled carefully: it has taken our conservators several months to be sure that, with care and the right systems in place, it would be possible to tour.”
“We are committed to making iconic items in the national collections more accessible, working with partners around the UK to so that museums around the country can all benefit.”
“However, we have never sent anything as big as Dippy beyond the Museum. We already know the costs of touring a Diplodocus will be substantial, depending on where the tour visits and how many places it goes. Over the months ahead we will be looking for partners to help us realise our vision of as many people in the UK seeing Dippy as possible.”
In summer 2017 a diving blue whale skeleton will be suspended in Dippy’s place as part of a re-display of Hintze Hall highlighting our relationship with the natural world.
Dixon comments: “This is an important and necessary change: the redisplay of Hintze Hall marks the beginning of a decade of transformation for the Museum. As guardians of one of the world’s greatest scientific resources, our purpose is to challenge the way people think about the natural world, and that goal has never been more urgent.”
As it tours the country, the Diplodocus will need to be taken apart and re-built at each venue. The logistics of moving the dinosaur means that each venue will be expected to host Dippy for a minimum of 4-6 months.
The full skeleton in its displayed pose is 21.3 metres long, 4.3 metres wide and 4.25 metres high, and venues would need to have additional space around to allow for installation and visitors.
In the long term, the Museum plans for Dippy to always be on show and accessible to the public.
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Criteria for venues:
o Indoor, with sufficient floor-loading to support a dinosaur and its plinth
o Space for the Diplodocus with sufficient accessibility for installation and visitor flow
o Must meet the security requirements of the national security advisor at Arts Council England
o Venues able to reach to reach large, diverse audiences of families and schools
o Venues to have a strong network of partnerships with other local organisations
o The Museum will select venues to give a wide geographical spread
o Venues able to co-create and support programming
The Museum will also want to know what benefits Dippy will bring to venues, their audiences, their areas and how they will help to realise this.
The Museum will select venues to give a wide geographical spread and to ensure continuity from each location, to ensure Dippy is on show as much as possible. Venues will be expected to put forward how they will make sure the tour really benefits their area and community.
The Natural History Museum welcomes more than five million visitors a year and is a world-leading science research centre. Through its unique collection and unrivalled expertise it is tackling the biggest challenges facing the world today. It helps enable food security, eradicate disease and manage resource scarcity. It is studying the diversity of life and the delicate balance of ecosystems to ensure the survival of our planet. For more information go to www.nhm.ac.uk