Dippy exhibit attracts almost 30,000 visitors in first week

The Natural History Museum’s iconic Diplodocus skeleton will be on display at the Dorset County Museum, Dorchester until May

Some 28,000 people have flocked to the town’s Dorset County Museum to be amongst the first to see Dippy in Dorset as he makes his debut appearance on a national tour. It is the first time that the dinosaur skeleton has been displayed outside of London since it was first installed at the Natural History Museum in 1905.

The exhibit has quickly become the museum’s most popular, and it is also the largest – it fills the main hall with just centimetres to spare. Dorset County Museum told Celebrating Poundbury that advanced ticket numbers to see Dippy have now reached 50,000. With Dorset the only tour stop in the south, most visitors so far have been from the south west but visitors from as far as Alabama have also enjoyed the exhibit.

Every school pupil from Poundbury’s local schools, Damers First School and Prince of Wales School, will visit Dippy with their classmates during his stay as part of the museum’s education programme. The museum said a total of 7,000 school pupils from across the south west have booked a place for its schools programme to see Dippy. This week alone, the museum’s education team have welcomed 730 school children to the Dippy exhibit.

Dippy hasn’t been seen since January 2017, when his 292 bones were dismantled from the Natural History Museum’s Hintze Hall. With thousands of Dorset visitors and the high street lined with welcome flags, the dinosaur cast has been made to feel at home alongside the museum’s own dinosaur collection.

Dorset visitors will also be honoured to be the first to see the results of Dippy’s makeover – after a thorough clean and a transatlantic visit to Canada for engineer work to make the structure fit for the tour, staff worked to correct his front ‘hands’, which until now have in fact been back feet.

Dippy’s stay in Dorchester will run until May 7 before he is packed up again for his next stop in Birmingham. Dippy will be on the road until 2020.

For Dorset County Museum, Dippy will be the last temporary exhibit before the museum embarks on a £15m modernisation plan. For visitors, it will be the last time to see the museum’s exhibition rooms in all their glory before some rooms start to temporarily close ahead of the major refurbishment to transform the museum into a contemporary exhibition space with new galleries, learning centres and visitor facilities.

Tickets to see Dippy are free and can be booked in advance£†click here£†where you can also buy tickets for the full museum.


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