Dippy the Diplodocus is hitting the road.
Or at least experts will carefully pack and unpack the reconstructed dinosaur’s skeleton – 292 bones in total – for an eight-venue tour around the UK beginning in 2018.
Dippy, a 70ft plaster-cast sauropod – meaning “lizard feet” – replica, will be leaving his home at the Natural History Museum in London, where he has dominated the main visitors’ entrance for the last 37 years, to allow others around the country to enjoy him.
“We wanted Dippy to visit unusual locations so he can draw in people that may not traditionally visit a museum,” said Natural History Museum director Sir Michael Dixon of the tour, which will end in 2020.
“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.”
But many are not happy about Dippy entering the big wide world, with more than 32,000 people signing a petition calling for the decision to be reversed.
But Natural History Museum goers need not fear – their skeleton void will be filled. After Dippy is removed in January 2017, the entrance hall will become home to the real skeleton of a blue whale.
The replica cast of Dippy was created after King Edward VII saw a sketch of the Diplodocus and said he would like to see something similar at the Natural History Museum. The dinosaur has been on the premises of the museum for around 111 years.
The last day to see Dippy at the Natural History Museum will be 4 January 2017.
The Schdeule for Dippy the Diplodocus
Dorchester – Dorset County Museum
Birmingham – Birmingham Museum
Autumn/Winter 2018 – Belfast – Ulster Museum
Spring 2019 – Glasgow – Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Summer 2019 – Newcastle – Great North Museum
Autumn/Winter 2020 – Cardiff – National Assembly of Wales
Spring 2020 – Rochdale – Number One Riverside
Summer 2020 – Norwich – Norwich Cathedral
Dippy will spend four to six months at each location