On our last adventure to London Dippy, the Dinosaur had already left the Natural History Museum. It was almost as though he knew we were coming. I say “He”, but to be honest no one is really sure if Dippy the Dinosaur is male or female!
Anyway, we were given the chance to meet Dippy as he stopped by our home town Newcastle upon Tyne and made the Great North Museum his home. It’s would be a shame to miss the opportunity so we set off early on a Sunday morning.
Dippy on Tour: Newcastle
The Dippy exhibition at the Great North Museum (Hancock Museum), is more than just Dippy the Dinosaur. The exhibition tries to get you to think a little more about extinction, climate change and how we affect our environment.
The animated wall art is great for capturing your attention and explaining key elements of what we are doing to our planet. I know when we were kids the science lessons would talk about the Green House Effect, Acid Rain and Global Warming. Our kids haven’t mentioned any of these subjects yet, but they are aware of plastic pollution.
Being in the presence of such a famous extinct dinosaur may have an impact to mentally link climate change an environmental disaster!
A Quick History of Dippy the Dinosaur
Dippy was discovered in the badlands of Wyoming in 1898 as a huge fossilised bone, by fossil collector William H. Reed. As a major discovery, it rapidly hit the newspapers and everyone was talking about it. Which is where a rich business man Andrew Carnegie, decided that it would be the perfect addition to his museum in Pittsburgh. So set about doing everything he could to obtain the Dinosaur Fossils.
Palaeontologists recognised that the bones were from a diplodocus, but noticed subtle differences and decided to give this one the full title of Diplodocus Carnegii.
The fossilised bones were transported to the museum where they were separated from the rock. The skeleton was almost complete bar the skull, a few bones from the limbs and a section of tail.
After a visit from King Edward VII, the King commented that it would be great to house such an animal in the British Museum. However as there were no sightings of similar quality fossils, the idea of creating a high-quality cast of the skeleton came into play.
Which is what we are looking at today. Dippy is a high quality plaster of Paris / resin which is painted black to look like an accurate copy of the original Diplodocus fossil from Wyoming.
The huge skeleton seems much larger in life than these photos suggest. And the detail of the bones with the way it’s displayed is amazing too. There isn’t too many support structures holding it up (or that are visible).
It also has the most amazing long thin whip like tail that isn’t fully represented on any cartoon illustrations you may have seen.
We’d managed to have our time with Dippy and were lucky enough to get some alone time too.
The Dippy on Tour Exhibition is on til the 6th October 2019. The Great North Museum advises that you book a ticket from their website (which is free). It is possible to get walk up entry, but during busier periods this will be limited, to not over crowd the exhibit. So to avoid disappointment, visit https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk and book up.
There’s is more to see at the Great North Museum
From the Dippy on Tour exhibit we also got an Explorer Book, which had some items to spot around the museum. In the egyptology zone we found this carving on a wand. Probably likely to be a camel, but suspiciously also looking like Dippy the Diplodocus!
The huge display of taxidermy and replica animals is still looking fresh. It’s a million miles away from the previous display concept in the previous Hancock Museum.
Gemstone and minerals have caught our eyes more than I thought they would. Just like when we went to the Natural History Museum, the shapes and colours fascinated our little Hoopsters.
If your main reason for visiting was Dinosaurs, then you don’t want to miss out on the T-Rex skeleton. It is huge and set in an action pose. It’s quite impressive to realise that we have so much on offer here in Newcastle. Even more so when you know that entry to these attractions are free.
Dates: Dippy On Tour is at the Great North Museum 18th May – 6th October.
Tickets: It is recommended that you book a time slot via the website
The Tour: From Newcastle, Dippy will head onto Cardiff, Rochdale and Norwich.