As part of Dippy on Tour, in partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation, Dippy is taking up residency in the Gas Hall at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery from Saturday 26th May until Sunday 9th September. This will be the only chance to see the 292-piece skeleton on display in the Midlands.
To make sure Dippy is ready to greet thousands of visitors, the final bone was put carefully in place by pupils from Mansfield Green E-ACT Academy in Aston, Birmingham. The school works in partnership with Birmingham Museums Trust across many areas and the Year 4 pupils were extremely excited to get a preview of the exhibition before it opened to the public.
90,000 tickets have already been booked to see Dippy in Birmingham. To guarantee entry, free tickets must be booked at birminghammuseums.org.uk/bmag/whats-on/dippy-on-tour-a-natural-history-adventure
A limited number of walk up slots will be available every day for visitors without a ticket, but as the exhibition is expected to be busy, visitors are advised that there may be queues.
Dippy is part of a wider exhibition on display throughout the Gas Hall which explains how Dippy might have been the end of the line for herbivorous dinosaurs but the meat-eating dinosaurs continued to evolve – birds are dinosaurs. Bringing Birmingham’s colourful bird collection back to BMAG for the first time in nearly 20 years, the exhibition will show the amazing diversity of modern birds and how they evolved to become one of the most successful groups of animals inhabiting almost every part of the world from the oceans of Antarctica to tropical rainforests.
Visitors, old and young, will be astounded by the comparison of Dippy’s vast size to one of the smallest birds in the exhibition, a hummingbird.
Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism Michael Ellis said: "Dippy the Diplodocus is the UK’s most famous dinosaur and this tour will bring huge benefits to Birmingham. Not only will it boost visitor numbers to the city, but I hope it will inspire future generations to learn more about science and the natural world. We are committed to making our national collections as accessible as possible, and this tour will ensure Dippy can be seen by millions of people across the country.”
Gurminder Kenth, Museum Manager at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, says: “Dippy is finally here and we can’t wait for visitors to see him! We are delighted to be the second venue outside of London to be hosting the famous dinosaur cast and we hope after seeing Dippy that visitors are inspired to find out more about the amazing nature on their doorstep. Dippy starts a vital conversation about the importance of caring for our natural world and it’s great to be making the connection to the city’s vibrant bird collection.”
Janine Eason, Director of Engagement at Birmingham Museums, says: “Dippy inspired me as a child on visits to the Natural History Museum and we are thrilled that visitors to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery will get to have that same exciting experience while he is with us until September.
“We are delighted that the Natural History Museum chose Birmingham Museum Trust to host Dippy as part of the tour, reflecting our commitment to learning, our highly skilled team, and our track record in attracting high numbers of visitors.”
Dippy was recently on display at Dorset Country Museum, the tour's first stop, where he proved immensely popular with the Jurassic Coast crowds. The venue's visitor numbers exceeded 150,000 people, surpassing their annual figures in under three months. 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.
Director of the Natural History Musuem, Sir Michael Dixon says: “Dippy’s success in Dorset was beyond all our expectations. His residency saw record-breaking visitor numbers for Dorset County Museum which also benefitted the surrounding community in Dorchester. Dippy on Tour looks set to make a similar impact in Birmingham and we hope our iconic dinosaur cast will help open children’s eyes to the joys of nature on their doorstep and encourage them to explore, discover and protect the world around them.”
Dippy on Tour: Natural History Adventure 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. In Birmingham, the exhibition has been supported by Paradise Birmingham.
Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation, says: “In our 60th year of working in partnership with inspiring causes across the United Kingdom we are delighted to see Dippy arrive in the Midlands after his hugely successful stay in Dorchester. We hope that he continues to inspire visitors to think about and explore the wonders of our natural world during his stay in Birmingham.”
The excitement and adventure goes beyond the walls of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. 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. There will be a wide array of natural history related events and activities hosted at other venues around the West Midlands. From Wolverhampton to Coventry and Shropshire to Warwickshire, visitors are encouraged to explore the natural history adventures taking place in their local area.
Throughout the exhibition Dippy’s presence will be felt throughout the museum, with lots of fun related activities to enjoy. There’s the Dippy family room, Dino Dig, curator’s tour, crafts and trails throughout the school holidays, and there will even be a Dino Children’s Menu in the Edwardian Tearooms.
The Natural History Museum, in partnership with Dell EMC and in association with Intel and Microsoft, has just launched Dippy’s Naturenauts, an entertaining and educational web app for children. Downloadable for free from the Natural History Museum’s website, this mobile app provides an in interactive digitial experience which encourages children to venture outdoors and interact with the natural world wherever they live - in countryside or urban environments.
Designed for children 4 and above, characters’ Dippy and Fern the fox lead the user through a series of fun exploratory games created to encourage them to interact with the natural world around them. The activities include making virtual bark rubbings, identifying different flowers and learn to identify birds from their feathers and their calls.
During May half term, see the incredible Cadbury World chocolate dinosaur egg on display at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Created especially for Dippy’s arrival in the city, the egg weighs 60kg, which is 1,333 bars of standard Cadbury Dairy Milk, and measures 3 foot high.
For further information about the exhibition visit: birminghammuseums.org.uk/bmag/whats-on/dippy-on-tour-a-natural-history-adventure
The tour takes in the following venues, in chronological order:
- 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
Dippy facts: Diplodocus carnegii
· Dippy is a herbivore and lived between 156 and 145 million years ago during the Late Jurassic period.
· Dippy has a long neck that would have been used to reach high and low vegetation, and to drink water.
· The full skeleton in its displayed pose is 21.3m metres long, 4.3 metres wide and 4.17 metres high.
· Dippy would have weighed around 13 tonnes when alive.
· The 292-bone skeleton arrived in London in 36 packing cases.
· Dippy has delighted visitors since he arrived in London in 1905. Immediately the Diplodocus became a star, and has since featured in newspaper cartoons, news reports and even played starring roles in film and television.
· Dippy is one of 10 replicas of the original D. carnegii in museums around the world, including Paris, Berlin, Vienna, and Moscow.
· Dippy was originally housed in the Reptile Gallery. During World War II the skeleton was disassembled and relocated to the basement to protect it from bomb damage. And in 1979, Diplodocus made the move to Hintze Hall, where it remained until today
· His appearance has changed over the years, reflecting advances in our understanding of dinosaur biology and evolution.
· The dinosaur's head originally pointed downwards with the tail resting on the ground. Following new research in the 1960s, the neck was raised to a horizontal position and in 1993 the tail was repositioned to curve spectacularly over visitors' heads.
· Conservators have taken 12 months to prepare the delicate plaster-of-Paris cast for its natural history adventure as it will go on tour for three years from February 2018.
· Dippy is transported in 16 crates.
· The crates vary in size from 139cmL x 139W x 191H to 333L x73W x231H.
· Dippy is made up on 292 ‘bones’ which are fitted together in modular sections. His feet and skull are single pieces.
· Technicians inspect each venue to understand the floor loading capabilities. The floor is then protected using plywood and corex sheeting. The base has been specially designed by engineers to support Dippy and his new armature.
· It takes four technicians and two conservators to construct Dippy.
· Dippy takes roughly a full week to build, around 49 hours.
· With Dippy standing at 4.17m high, ladders are a critical part of our toolkit. We use two sets, which are roughly 12 steps.
Dippy in Birmingham
· Dippy has arrived in Birmingham from Dorset County Museum which was his first stop on the tour. That’s a 170 mile journey from Dorset to Birmingham!
· Birmingham is Dippy’s second stop on his three year tour.
· Dippy will be taking up residency in Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery’s Gas Hall, which was historically the stunning building where the public made their gas payments.
· Dippy will be in Birmingham from 26th May until 9th September – that’s 107 days!
· Dippy will be part of an exhibition that showcases Birmingham’s bird display, which hasn’t been on display at BMAG for 20 years.
There will be 60 taxidermied birds on display in the exhibition, including the smallest bird on display a Hummingbird in comparison to larger birds such as a Macaw