Dippy the Diplodocus is coming to Newcastle’s Great North Museum: Hancock

15 November 2016

“I can’t think of a better way for the region to follow the Great Exhibition of the North..."

Image: Children with Dippy the Diplodocus at the Natural History Museum, London © Trustees of the Natural History Museum

One of Britain’s most famous museum exhibits will come to Newcastle upon Tyne in 2019 as part of an unprecedented national tour, it has been announced today.

‘Dippy’ – a Diplodocus skeleton cast – has thrilled visitors to London’s Natural History Museum for over 100 years. Now, for the first time, he will go on display outside the capital, touring eight venues around England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Great North Museum: Hancock has been selected as the sole North East England venue on the tour. The Diplodocus will be the centrepiece of a wide-ranging public programme in Newcastle between May and October 2019.

Iain Watson, Director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, said:

“We’re very excited that the Great North Museum: Hancock has been selected as a venue on Dippy’s UK tour. It’s a fabulous honour and we would like to extend our thanks to the Natural History Museum.

“Dippy’s a national treasure and we can’t wait to introduce him to our replica T. rex Big Mike, who is similarly loved by the people of Newcastle. Of course, the tour is not just about dinosaurs and we’re looking forward to using Dippy’s profile to engage our audiences with the richness of the natural world.

“I can’t think of a better way for the region to follow the Great Exhibition of the North in 2018. It’s incredible news.”

Professor Eric Cross, Dean of Cultural Affairs at Newcastle University, said:

“Many of us went through that phase as young children of being dinosaur mad. Not all of us have grown out of this, even though we can’t remember all those long names any more!

“Dippy’s visit will not only give the Great North Museum: Hancock a further boost as a museum of national importance following the Great Exhibition of the North, but it will help illustrate some of the key global challenges such as sustainability and climate change that are central to the University’s research.”

From early 2018 to late 2020, Dippy will visit the following eight venues in chronological order: Dorset County Museum; Birmingham Museum; Ulster Museum; Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow; Great North Museum: Hancock; National Assembly for Wales; Number One Riverside, Rochdale; and Norwich Cathedral.

It is hoped that the three-year tour will inspire five million natural history adventures and encourage families to explore the nature on their doorstep.

Sir Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum, said:

“We wanted Dippy to visit unusual locations so he can draw in people that may not traditionally visit a museum. Making iconic items accessible to as many people as possible is at the heart of what museums give to the nation, so we have ensured that Dippy will still be free to view at all tour venues.

“Working with our eight partners, we look forward to inspiring five million natural history adventures and encouraging children from across the country to develop a passion for science and nature. Few museum objects are better known - surely no one object better evokes the awesome diversity of species that have lived on Earth?”

The Diplodocus was unveiled to the British public in 1905 and was cast from the type specimen found in America. The full skeleton is 21.3 metres long, 4.3 metres wide and 4.25 metres high.

Dippy has been the imposing star of the Natural History Museum’s grand Hintze Hall since 1979, although his appearance has changed over the years to reflect advances in our understanding of dinosaur biology and evolution – most recently in 1993.

Dippy’s last day on show in London will be Wednesday 4 January 2017. Conservators will then take the next 12 months to prepare the delicate object for its journey around the UK. A diving Blue Whale skeleton will take Dippy’s place in the main hall as the latest part in an epic, inspiring story – the history of life on planet Earth.

Media enquiries

Please contact Jonathan Loach, Communications Officer. Email: Jonathan.Loach@twmuseums.org.uk Telephone: 0191 277 2168