Dippy on Tour opens at Norwich Cathedral for final stop of nationwide tour

Norwich Cathedral choristers around Dippy. Photograph: Norwich Cathedral/Bill Smith

Dippy, the Natural History Museum’s iconic dinosaur cast, has taken up residence at Norwich Cathedral for the final stop on his nationwide touring exhibition Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure.

Ahead of the exhibition opening to the public last week, some of the Cathedral’s choristers were among the first to enjoy a glimpse of Dippy. They celebrated his arrival in song before one of the choristers performed the all-important task of putting the final bone in place on the replica skeleton assisted by Philippa Charles, the Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation.

Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure is being brought to Norwich Cathedral and visitors across the UK by the Natural History Museum in partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation, and supported by Dell EMC and Williams & Hill. Norwich Cathedral is the eighth and final stop on the tour and Barratt and Cooke is the regional sponsor for the exhibition.

Cathedral choristers around Dippy at the launch. Photograph: Norwich Cathedral/Bill Smith

Doug Gurr, Director of London’s Natural History Museum, said:

‘We are thrilled to be bringing Dippy to Norwich Cathedral for the eighth and final stop of Dippy on Tour.

‘We are incredibly proud to say that Dippy has been visited by over 1.7M people creating record visitor numbers and social and economic benefits for every venue of the nationwide tour so far.

‘There are important lessons to be learnt from Dippy. The dinosaurs were the victims of a mass extinction event similar to the one we may very well be entering now as we face a planetary emergency.

‘We hope that at Norwich Cathedral Dippy will once again educate and inspire visitors to foster a long-term respect for the natural world and create a future where both people and planet thrive.’

The Nave of the 900-year-old Norman Cathedral will be Dippy’s home for nearly four months.

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd Jane Hedges, said:

‘We are absolutely delighted to welcome the Natural History Museum’s Dippy the dinosaur cast to Norwich Cathedral. It really is quite incredible to see this amazing prehistoric creature stretching out amongst the beautiful architecture of the Cathedral’s Norman Nave.

‘We hope people will have a lot of fun with Dippy’s visit and that there will also be serious conversations too, about important issues such the relationship between science and faith and also about how we can all play our part to protect our planet for the future.

‘Bringing Dippy to Norwich Cathedral has been a real team effort, and we would like to say a big thank you to the Natural History Museum and the many different organisations across Norwich and the wider region who have helped to make Dippy’s visit possible.’

Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage said:

‘Dippy has been wowing audiences all across the country and I am pleased that for the final stop of his nationwide tour he will visit the ancient Norwich Cathedral. As we build back better from the pandemic, Dippy will help to attract visitors to the region and boost the local economy.’

Dippy – whose replica skeleton features 292 cast bones (if his skull and jaw are counted as one) – was created between 1903 and 1904, and first arrived at the Natural History Museum in London in 1905. He was unveiled to the public on Friday 12 May 1905 and was the first Diplodocus to go on display anywhere in the world.

Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation, who assisted a Cathedral chorister in putting the final toe bone in place, said:

‘We are overjoyed that Dippy is finally able to conclude his national adventure in the iconic Norwich Cathedral, and get back to his mission to inspire people to explore the nature on their doorstep.

‘Dippy’s purpose has never had more importance and we are so pleased that Norwich Cathedral is enabling people to visit Dippy safely.’

Since Dippy left his London home and embarked on his Natural History Adventure tour in 2018, he has visited Dorset County Museum, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Ulster Museum, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle upon Tyne, National Museum Cardiff and Rochdale’s Number One Riverside.

His final stop on his tour is perhaps his most unique, as his visit to Norwich Cathedral will be the first time Dippy has ever been displayed inside a Cathedral.

Whilst at Norwich, Dippy on Tour will be accompanied by fossils loaned by Norfolk Museums Service, a time tunnel created by Norwich School and pupils and an immersive wave sculpture of more than 1,000 fish created by Norfolk-based artist Mark Reed entitled Your Waves Go Over Me. There will also be a special programme of Dippy-inspired events for dinosaur fans of all ages.

The Dippy on Tour exhibition is now open to the public six days a week until Saturday 30 October 2021.


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