Dippy the Diplodocus, a well-known dinosaur skeleton that once greeted visitors at the Natural History Museum in London, is back in the U.K. now after traveling abroad to Canada about a year ago. When Dippy was packed up, the Natural History Museum gave the honor of greeting visitors to the skeleton of a blue whale known as Hope, so Dippy’s services as a greeter are no longer needed there. Instead, the dinosaur is going on a tour of the U.K.
According to the BBC, the first stop for Dippy the Diplodocus will be Dorset County Museum, where it will be displayed inside a very tight Victorian hall. Dippy was set up in the National History Museum in 1905 after Nineteenth-Century industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated it. The massive skeleton survived the bombing in London during World War II by being moved to the basement of the museum.
The dinosaur skeleton spans 26 meters in length and is 4.17 meters high and 4.3 meters wide, according to the Belfast Telegraph. Dippy has 292 bones, but whenever it’s packed up for shipping, it is disassembled into only 86 pieces. It took about two weeks for the team to assemble the diplodocus at the Dorset County Museum.
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In order to set up the skeleton, the museum had to remove parts of the iron railing on a balcony that runs along the ends of the hall just to get the fossil cast into the building, adds the BBC. Placing Dippy in such a tight room serves to make it look even larger than ever before, enabling visitors to more fully appreciate its massive size.
The hall will also provide visitors a fresh perspective by standing on the balcony. Dippy is positioned in such a way that visitors might consider what it would have been like to ride the massive dinosaur long ago. At the other end of the balcony, visitors will get the opportunity to stare directly into the Diplodocus’ face. Visitors won’t be able to touch Dippy’s skull because a screen will prevent them from doing it, but the balcony apparently will allow for some very interesting photos.
While in Canada, Dippy the Diplodocus picked up a new support frame and was cleaned thoroughly before being mounted on it. According to the BBC, this was the primary purpose for the trip abroad. Another major change made to Dippy is the addition of hands that are more anatomically correct. When the dinosaur was originally displayed in London, it was shown with two pairs of back feet.
A spokesperson for the National History Museum told The Guardian that they wanted to take Dippy the Diplodocus to some rather unusual locations so that people who don’t tend to go to museums might get to see it. He explained that the dinosaur is one of the most well-known museum objects in the U.K.
After stopping in the Dorset County Museum, Dippy the Diplodocus will be heading to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, followed by Belfast’s Ulster Museum and then Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Dippy will then be off to the Great North Museum: Hacock in Newcastle upon Tyne, followed by the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff. The final two stops on Dippy’s U.K. tour are Number One Riverside in Rochdale and Norwich Cathedral in Norwich. The entire tour will last three years, according to the Belfast Telegraph.