He was the instantly recognisable centrepiece of the Natural History Museum for over a century, but in 2018, Dippy, the life-sized Diplodocus cast, is touring the UK. Fortunately for families staying at Summer Lodge Country House Hotel and Restaurant or the Acorn Inn, the first stop for Dippy on Tour is the Dorset County Museum. Located in Dorchester, just 20 minutes’ drive from the hotels, Dorset County Museum will be Dippy’s home until May 2018.
The visit will explore the similarities and difference between the environment that Dippy would have inhabited compared to what was taking place on the Jurassic Coast at that time. Furthermore, the Jurassic Coast provides a fantastic insight into what life would have been like when dinosaurs existed. Similar species to Dippy would have lived in the Dorset area, existing in an environment full of the same types of animals and plants that Dippy himself would have known.
Dippy’s story began in 1898, when bones unearthed in Wyoming were revealed to form an almost whole diplodocus. The bones were bought by Scot Andrew Carnegie, who exhibited them in his museum in Pittsburgh, and when King Edward VII saw a sketch of the mighty diplodocus on show at Carnegie’s Scottish castle, he decided to have his own replica created. Made in the USA, the Plaster of Paris replica was shipped to Britain in 36 crates and was the first standing diplodocus skeleton to have ever been exhibited. Dippy’s grand unveiling at the Natural History Museum took place in 1905, and he has been on display there ever since (excluding during the second world war, when he was dismantled and safely stored away).
A popular attraction with visitors, Dippy has also had several roles on screen, being featured in films including Paddington and Night at the Museum 3. This year’s tour is set to introduce Dippy to a new generation of fans, whilst also showcasing fantastic natural history collections nationwide and raising awareness of biodiversity.
To celebrate Dippy’s time in Dorset, many fun and family friendly events are scheduled. Check out the Interactive Art Days, where visitors can create their own Dippy-inspired Papier-mâché animals, or a Fantastic Fossils and Where to Find them workshop at the Lyme Regis Museum so you can collect and identify your own fossils. Dinosaur experts at the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre are also hosting a Diplodocus & Scelidosaurus event, which will showcase the area’s own dinosaur, Scelidosaurus, and include plenty of themed activities.
Image Credits: All images © Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London .