The Natural History Museum is seeking a new partner to host their iconic Diplodocus cast, Dippy, for a long-term loan. It is hoped that such a partnership will replicate the benefits to UK regions and hosting venues seen by the recently concluded Dippy on Tour, which visited eight venues across the UK.
Dippy’s appeal is well known, and throughout the tour, venues and regions that played host to the well-travelled Diplodocus cast began to report the ‘Dippy effect’. Every venue Dippy visited reported record-breaking visitor numbers, and a recently concluded report has suggested that Dippy on Tour resulted in an economic benefit of just under £36m across the eight regions.
Ahead Dippy going on loan the dinosaur will be back at the Natural History Museum for a special temporary installation called Dippy Returns: the nation’s favourite dinosaur. The new installation, opening 27 May and running until Dec 2022, will feature visitors’ reflections from when they met the Jurassic giant and how such meetings inspired them to re-connect with the precious nature on their doorsteps.
Dr Doug Gurr, Museum Director, said, ‘We have been blown away by the success of Dippy on Tour. We knew that Dippy was able to draw a crowd but for all venues to break visitor number records and see economic benefits within their regions to this level has exceeded our expectations.
‘Biodiversity is under threat and the planet is facing a crisis. Dippy has the ability to capture people’s imagination and spark an interest in the natural world. We hope that, wherever Dippy’s next adventure takes place, our dino-star will continue to engage people with nature and inspire them to protect it.
‘We are excited to be sharing our collection with a wider audience once again and encourage applications from venues across the UK.’
People’s fascination with dinosaurs provides the ideal opportunity to inspire and inform the next generation about the natural world and empower them to act for the planet. Awe-inspiring giants, like Dippy, can entice people and especially children to science and help build understanding of critical concepts such as extinction, adaptation, biodiversity and deep time from a young age.
Dippy is available to host from 2023. The Museum is encouraging venues with an indoor space big enough to fit a Diplodocus to get in touch and tell us how Dippy would engage their audiences and potentially contribute to regeneration of their venue and region. Applicants do not have to be a traditional museum and requests from other publicly accessible spaces and institutes are welcomed, as would organisations applying in partnership.
Across the UK, over 2m people visited Dippy whilst on tour and the impact was seen everywhere. In Glasgow, Kelvingrove Museum & Art Gallery received over 643,000 visitors whilst Dippy was in residence and an economic uplift of £15.38m to the local economy. One of the more unusual venues of the tour was Rochdale’s Number One Riverside, a multipurpose council building, which worked with Touchstones, a local museum, to create a multi-site experience. Despite hosting Dippy during the worst of the pandemic’s restrictions, they still welcomed over 165,000 visitors and reported a £1.86m uplift to the local economy.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said, ‘There is no question that Dippy is one of the most celebrated icons of the natural world and it’s clear that people’s love for prehistoric creatures isn’t facing extinction any time soon. Up and down the country, record numbers have been flocking to venues to see Dippy – driving a huge boost to the local economy at every calling point throughout the tour.
‘World-class culture should be accessible to all and this is an amazing opportunity for museums and organisations across the UK to put themselves forward to host this roar-some dino-star. Get applying now!’
Dippy Returns: The nation’s favourite dinosaur is running at the Natural History Museum from 27 May – December 2022