Updated: Aug 23, 2022
He's finally back! After 4 years of touring the UK, the much loved Dippy the dinosaur has returned home. But where has he been? Why did he go? Moreover, what is Dippy's story?
In case you didn't know, Dippy the dinosaur is a replica of a Diplodocus carnegii and inhabits the Natural History Museum of London. For 124 years, Dippy has captured the hearts of the public as (for most people at the time) the first dinosaur they had ever laid eyes on.
It's thanks to this that the genus Diplodocus is so widely popular. Dippy the dinosaur is approximately 26 metres (85 feet) long and is made from the plaster of paris casts of multiple specimens found in the Morrison formation in Wyoming. So Dippy is in fact a 'Franken-dinosaur'. Despite this, the casts that Dippy is made up of were replicated and sent to numerous places around the world, with the Natural History Museums of Berlin, Paris, Vienna, St. Petersburg, Madrid and Utah (just to name a few) having their very own Dippy clones.
The original cast of Dippy was actually on display in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History when, in 1902, King Edward VII expressed great interest in the animal and Andrew Carnegie decided to donate the casts to the Natural History Museum of London, who erected it for display in 1905.
Dippy remained here in the reptile hall (with the exception of being stored away to protect from bombing during World War II) until 1979, when Dippy took centre stage in the beautiful Hinzte hall.
After spending 112 years enrapturing millions at the museum, they then decided that Dippy the dinosaur deserved a holiday! In July of 2017, Hope the whale took Dippy's place as the centrepiece of the Hinzte hall and Dippy started his UK tour.
He started his journey in the Dorset County Museum, Dorchester before moving to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery during May 2018. From here he travelled to Belfast, Glasgow, Newcastle, Cardiff, Rochdale before finishing off the journey in Norwich Cathedral.
Finally, after nearly 5 years of being on tour, Dippy the dinosaur has returned home! He's currently on display in an exhibit in the museum and will let Hope keep her place since he's now semi-retired. The event in which I went to was an after hours do, in which several scientists set up stalls for short talks as well as granting the dream of being in a nearly empty museum!
Unfortunately, Dippy won't be here forever. His display will end in December 2022, after which he will be available for loan starting 2023. Dippy has been an integral part of the wonders of generations, as well as being the childhood inspiration for many fully fledged paleontologists for 112 years. This is why I find this bittersweet. I'm sad to see him go indefinitely, having become a part of the very magical building itself, but it will be nice to see him inspire others for a few more generations to come.
We love you Dippy!