Coming Soon! Dippy on Tour

by Jon

January 29, 2018 0

Coming Soon ! Dippy on Tour !

Image of Dippy Does Dorset on Tour Poster

Hi everybody

Here’s my next blog post about Dippy on Tour !

It’s just two weeks to go until the famous dinosaur starts its nationwide tour at Dorset County Museum in Dorchester and the excitement is building.

Have you got your free tickets yet? Remember it’s free to visit Dippy but you need to book online first.

Dippy on Tour – a mammoth undertaking!

I bet that the organisers at the Jurassic Coast Trust and museum are run off their feet at the moment behind the scenes making sure everything is ready for the big day.

Dippy will meet its adoring public for the first time on Saturday 10 February. Those first lucky visitors will be among an estimated 70,000 people who are set to pass through the grand old doors of the museum.

And there are also loads of events and activities to join, like night at the museum sleepovers, to celebrate Dippy’s arrival at the home county of the awesome Jurassic Coast.

It’s a monster task and obviously the folk at the museum and trust can’t do it all by themselves. So following an appeal some 200 of us signed up to be volunteers doing everything from stewarding to doing the dishes. The 5,000 school children who visit will need help too.

I’m a volunteer steward and lending a hand with the school visits. So I figured I better do a bit of swotting up about the famous old creature which used to stand guard in the entry hall of the National History Museum.

I thought that I knew quite a lot after growing up fossil hunting on the Jurassic Coast and taking my kids to see Dippy in London before he left to go on tour. Oh boy – was I wrong!  The museum organisers did tell us about Dippy at a volunteer event, but I must confess to spending most of the time wondering how on earth they were going to fit it in building rather than paying attention!

Graphic image of Diplodocus Dinosaur skeleton for Dippy on Tour blog

Dippy on Tour SPOILER ALERT!

Don’t read on if you want to discover more about Dippy yourself – and there will be loads of displays around the museum to look at when you visit.

So here’s some stuff I found out…

Dippy is not actually a fossil or skeleton

Dippy is a plaster of Paris and resin replica painted black – cast primarily from a real fossilised skeleton discovered in Wyoming in the USA in 1898.

Big D was a monster reality star back in the day

Famous Scottish- American steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie snapped up the skeleton for his new Pittsburgh Museum where it caused a massive sensation. Obviously this was before much was known about fossils and dinosaurs. And certainly before the internet was invented, David Attenborough starred on the television or CGI created incredible creatures in movies like Jurassic Park!  Scientists later declared the discovery to be a new species and named it Diplodocus carnegii in Carnegie’s honour and it became generally known as ‘Dippy’.

Image of Dippy Diplodocus at National History Museum London

Dippy at the National History Museum London

Dippy was created by royal appointment

In 1902 King Edward VII popped into Carnegie’s Scottish castle, as you do. HRH was suitably blown away enough by images of Dippy in Carnegie’s study to want one for London’s Natural History Museum. A cast was duly made and our Dippy made its debut in 1905.

There is another…

10 in fact. Carnegie was a famous philanthropist of the time and spent much of his fortune on good deeds such as building libraries and museums.  So his crew knocked out replicas so people around the world could be inspired by the giant skeleton. London’s Dippy has siblings in museums from Paris to Berlin and Buenos Aires in Argentina to St Petersburg in Russia.

No one really knows if Dippy is a boy or a girl

Apparently it’s really difficult to tell if dinosaurs are male or female. Your best chance is if there’s an egg discovered among any fossilised remains.

Dippy is worth a serious amount of money

Well it is over 100 years old, so technically an antique. It would be great to get a real valuation on the Antiques Road Show, but apparently Dippy is insured for around £1 million.

There’s loads more to discover about Dippy’s story

And if you’ve enjoyed reading this blog, you can also find more of my blogs about life on the Jurassic Coast blog and our story.

Thanks for reading, next time I’ll be able to tell you about when I came face to face with Dippy itself and hopefully be able to post a ‘selfie’.


Posted by: Jon

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