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Dorset County Museum bids farewell to Dippy, as anticipation builds in Birmingham.
Dorset County Museum and the Jurassic Coast Trust have officially marked the departure of Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure with a parade of more than 250 local children through Dorchester’s town centre.
The children followed Dippy’s ‘footprints’ from Brewery Square to Dorset County Museum’s Victorian Hall to sing a farewell song to the town’s special guest before he leaves for his next destination - Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.
The Natural History Museum's iconic Diplodocus cast, previously never before seen outside of London, is travelling the length and the breadth of the UK over three years, visiting Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and five regions across England. On display at Dorset Country Museum, the tour's first stop, since 10 February this year, Dippy was immensely popular with the Jurassic Coast crowds. The venue's visitor numbers exceeded 150,000 people, surpassing their annual figures in under three months.
For each partner venue on the tour, hosting Dippy is a chance to showcase their local nature and natural history collections, forging new partnerships between regional cultural, scientific and wildlife organisations in a bid to reconnect the nation with nature. The Jurassic Coast Trust jointly hosted Dippy in Dorset. They worked in collaboration with other local organisations and helped more than 25,000 people hit the outdoors to enjoy their own Dippy-themed natural history adventures.
The Natural History Museum's Head of National Public Programmes, Katrina Nilsson, says, 'We could not have asked for a better start to the tour. Dippy has received such an overwhelming welcome in Dorset and has prompted thousands to explore the fantastic nature available on their doorstep. For the next leg of the tour, Birmingham has an exciting exhibition and events offer, and there is a huge array of activities on offer across the Midlands, which we hope will inspire a greater understanding and passion for the natural world.'
Dippy on Tour has been realised in partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation, which has just made its £1-billionth donation in its 60th year.
Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation, says, 'We look to work in partnership with inspiring and engaging causes that make a real difference, so it is very exciting to see the impact Dippy is already making in encouraging people to venture outdoors and reigniting children's curiosity with nature. We hope Dippy will leave an inspiring legacy in Dorchester and look forward to seeing him settle into his new home in Birmingham. What a wonderful way to celebrate Garfield Weston's 60th year!'
Local businesses have reported an increase in footfall in the area since Dippy took up residency.
Phil Gordon from the Dorchester Business Improvement District says, 'Dippy’s interest has been phenomenal. A good percentage of families visiting Dippy have taken the opportunity to explore the town, with many businesses, especially in hospitality, reporting a 25% increase in business compared to the same period last year.'
Opening at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery on Saturday 26 May, the highly anticipated exhibition will be the only opportunity to see the impressive Diplodocus cast in the Midlands.
Dippy will be accompanied by an exciting exhibition which will bring the city's extensive bird collection back to the museum for the first time in 20 years, showcasing the evolution of dinosaurs to the birds we know today. Other star exhibits include a velociraptor cast, a cast of a dinosaur nest and a great auk, the famous bird that became extinct in the mid-nineteenth century.
Never before on public display outside of the Natural History Museum, Dippy has delighted visitors since he arrived in London in 1905. The full skeleton in its displayed pose is an impressive 21.3 metres long, 4.3 metres wide and 4.17 metres high.
The iconic specimen is on a mission to inspire five million natural history adventures, encouraging families and schools to explore nature on their doorstep.
Dippy on Tour has been brought about by the Natural History Museum, in partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation and supported by Dell EMC and Williams & Hill. Made possible by close collaboration with a wide range of institutions and organisations across the UK, this three-year tour aims to introduce 1.5 million people to this awe-inspiring exhibit.
The tour takes in the following venues, in chronological order:
Dippy's stint in Birmingham doesn't stop at the exhibition itself. Throughout the museum visitors of all ages can join in on plenty of dino-themed activities. Try your hand (or spade) at palaeontology on an exciting dino dig, or step back 156 million years to the late Jurassic period and explore Dippy's past with the curator's tours.
The exhibition aims to encourage people in the region to go on their own natural history adventures and explore the incredible natural history collections and amazing biodiversity right on their doorstep. Venues across the Midlands, from Wolverhampton to Coventry and Shropshire to Warwickshire, will be hosting their very own events and activities.
At The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent on 5 May, visitors can travel back in time and come face-to-face with a walking and growling T. rex in a stunning animatronic puppetry show.
In Warwick, locals can visit the Market Hall Museum to learn all about Jurassic Warwickshire, see evidence of the county's dinosaurs and encounter some real dinosaur bones and fossils.
Over in Shropshire, at Ludlow Library & Resource Centre, visitors can hear Jurassic tales and discover natural and prehistoric secrets. And in Coventry, families can see the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum's ichthyosaur skull, feel the curves of a seashell and listen to birdsong in their multi-sensory gallery.
Two free-to-attend Dippy Mini-BioBlitzes will take place at Weoley Castle and Sarehole Mill in Birmingham. At Weoley Castle, join scientists to search for and identify wildlife in the remains of a 750 year old manor house - spotting local birds, butterflies and bees. At Sarehole Mill, investigate the mill pond, searching for and identifying dragonflies and water beetles, pond snails, frogs and newts, and water plants.
Birmingham Museums Trust venues will also be gearing up for dino-sized fun. Explore the fossils room at Soho House, make dinosaur headgear ranging from Triceratops horns to Stegosaurus spikes at Blakesley Hall, join the Operation Earth team at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter to learn about natural history and help artists make dinosaur willow sculptures for display at Sarehole Mill.
Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure will be in Birmingham from 26 May to 9 September 2018. Find out more.
Natural History Museum media contact:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5654/ (0)779 969 0151
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery contact:
Zoe Turton, PR Officer on 0121 348 8281/ 07868204711