Glasgow & West Scotland

Scots stopover for 'film star' dinosaur Dippy the Diplodocus

Dippy the dinosaur Image copyright Glasgow Museums
Image caption Artists impression of how Dippy might look at the Kelvingrove Museum

One of the UK's most famous dinosaur exhibits is to go on display at Glasgow's Kelvingrove Museum in 2019.

The 109-year-old replica diplodocus skeleton cast, known as Dippy, has dominated the entrance to London's Natural History Museum since 1979.

It will soon be replaced with a blue whale skeleton, allowing Dippy to tour eight UK venues from 2018 to 2020.

The diplodocus has featured in films such as Paddington, Night at the Museum 3 and One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing.

Glasgow Life, the council arms-length body which runs the Kelvingrove Museum, hopes that famous dinosaur model will be a huge draw.

Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor Archie Graham, said: "As one of only eight venues selected across the UK, and the only one in Scotland, we are already counting down the months until he makes his grand appearance in our Centre Hall.

"One of our most visited spaces in the museum is the Life Gallery, which is home to a number of fascinating creatures from the natural history world.

"We are confident Dippy will feel right at home among them when he joins us at Kelvingrove in January 2019."

Scottish connection

The original diplodocus skeleton - of which Dippy is a cast - was unearthed by railroad workers in Wyoming, in the United States in 1898.

The fossilised bones were acquired by Scottish-born millionaire Andrew Carnegie for his new museum in Pittsburg.

Image caption Dippy has been a huge attraction for people of all ages at the Natural History Museum

During the reconstruction, experts discovered differences from the two other Diplodocus species known at the time, Diplodocus longus and Diplodocus lacustris.

The new species was named Diplodocus carnegii in honour of its owner.

Carnegie later commissioned a cast to be sent to London after King Edward VII remarked how he would like a similar specimen for the animal galleries of the Natural History Museum.

The diplodocus cast has been one of the museum's main attraction since it was unveiled to the public in 1905 and later moved to the Hintze Hall in 1979.

'Iconic items'

Sir Michael Dixon, director of the Natural History Museum, said he hoped that Dippy would continue to thrill crowds around the UK.

"Making iconic items accessible to as many people as possible is at the heart of what museums give to the nation, so we have ensured that Dippy will still be free to view at all tour venues," he said.

"Working with our eight partners we look forward to inspiring five million natural history adventures and, encouraging children from across the country to develop a passion for science and nature.

"Few museum objects are better known - surely no one object better evokes the awesome diversity of species that have lived on Earth?"

Image caption Dippy has been on display in the Hintze Hall since 1979

Dippy's full skeleton in its displayed pose is 21.3m (70ft) long, 4.3m (14ft) wide and 4.25m (14ft) high.

It will go on show at Dorset County Museum, Birmingham Museum, Ulster Museum, Kelvingrove Museum, Great North Museum Newcastle, National Assembly for Wales, Number One Riverside Rochdale, and Norwich Cathedral.

The UK tour is being supported by the grant-making trust, Garfield Weston Foundation.

The trust's director, Philippa Charles, said: "Generations of children have been awestruck by Dippy's spectacular presence at the heart of the Natural History Museum and we hope he continues to inspire the nation to rediscover nature as he works his way round the UK."

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