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9 May 2018

The countdown to Dippy’s arrival in Birmingham begins after his record-breaking stay in Dorset

The clock is officially ticking as the countdown to Dippy the Diplodocus’ journey from Dorset to Birmingham, as part of Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure, has begun.

Dorset County Museum and the Jurassic Coast Trust have officially marked the handover to Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery at a celebration attended by local schoolchildren.  

Dippy has been at Dorset County Museum since 10th February with more than 153,189 people visiting the display in just under three months.
The Natural History Museum’s iconic Diplodocus cast, never before seen outside of London, is travelling the length and the breadth of the UK, visiting Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and five regions across England over two years. 

Each tour partner venue is using Dippy's visit 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.  

Opening at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery on Saturday 26th May, the highly-anticipated exhibition will be the only chance to see the impressive diplodocus cast in the Midlands.

Free tickets can be booked now at: birminghammuseums.org.uk/bmag/whats-on/dippy-on-tour-a-natural-history-adventure

The Jurassic Coast Trust jointly hosted Dippy in Dorset, working in collaboration with other local organisations it has helped more than 25,000 people adventure outside to enjoy their own Dippy-themed natural history adventures.

The handover moment from Dorset to Birmingham was marked at Dorset County Museum with attendance from John Murden, Director of Dorset County Museum and Gurminder Kenth, Museum Manager at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Local schoolchildren from St Nicholas Church of England Primary School, Henstridge in Somerset joined in the celebrations to bid Dippy farewell, as the excitement builds ahead of his move to the Midlands. 

In Birmingham Dippy will be accompanied by an exciting and engaging 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 real Great auk, the famous bird which became extinct in the mid-19th century.  

The Natural History Museum's Head of National Public Programmes, Katrina Nilsson said: “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 brought about in partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation which has just made its £1billionth donation in its 60th Anniversary 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!” 

Dippy has delighted visitors since he arrived in London in 1905. The British icon is on a mission to inspire five million natural history adventures, encouraging families and schools to explore nature on their doorstep.

Dippy in Birmingham

Dippy’s stint in Birmingham doesn’t stop at the exhibition itself. Throughout the museum, there are plenty of dino-fuelled activities to join in with. Fun for all ages, try out your hand (or spade) at palaeontology with 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. 

Fancy a pit stop? There are plenty of fun crafts and trails to try throughout the school holidays, and there’s even a Dino Children’s Menu in the Edwardian Tearooms to fuel a fun day at the museum!  

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.  

In Warwick, locals can visit the Market Hall Museum to learn all about Jurassic Warwickshire, and see evidence of the county’s dinosaurs and witness some real dinosaur bones and fossils.

Over in Shropshire, at Ludlow Library & Resource Centre, visitors can hear about Jurassic tales and discover natural and prehistoric secrets. Whilst 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 also be taking place at Birmingham Museums Trust venues, Weoley Castle and Sarehole Mill. 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 they will be investigating the mill pond, searching for and identifying dragonflies and water beetles, pond snails, frogs and newts, and water plants.

Other Birmingham Museums Trust sites will also be gearing up for dino-sized fun. Make dinosaur headgear at Blakesley Hall and join the Operation Earth team at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter to learn about natural history. 

Gurminder Kenth, Museum Manager at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, said: “The countdown has officially begun and we can’t wait to welcome Dippy to Birmingham. It’s been amazing to see how popular the exhibition has been in Dorset and we know people in the Midlands can’t wait to finally see him at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. 

“The clock is ticking so make sure to book your free tickets to guarantee your visit to see the Natural History Museum’s famous dinosaur cast and our inspiring exhibition showcasing Birmingham’s natural history collection.”

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:
• 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