The Natural History Museum’s most famous exhibit is returning to the main London site- though only for a short period of time. Dippy the Diplodocus, which was removed from the Kensington museum in 2017 for a UK wide tour, will be checking into the building next summer, before once again leaving in December of that year.

Everyone who went to the museum before 2017 remembers Dippy, the 70ft high Diplodocus cast which dominated the central hall of the museum for several decades, and was featured on seemingly every brochure and poster for the NHM. After it embarked on its journey around the country, it was replaced by the skeleton of a blue whale, which is still hanging in the hall.

The return of Dippy would be significant enough for the museum in normal circumstances, but given the pandemic, Dippy is sure to play a role in attracting visitors back to the museum next year. Dippy on Tour, the official name of his journey around Britain, attracted a good deal of attention and visitors in each place he stopped in- in Birmingham the exhibit brought in over £4 million in revenue. Not bad for an old fossil.

Dippy is sure to play a role in attracting visitors back to the museum next year...

It’s likely that Dippy will be placed in its own section upon return, rather than just simply replacing Hope, the blue whale skeleton. The new exhibit will “celebrate the achievements of the tour and venues” and give insight into ‘the Dippy effect’, according to the museum’s website, and will also help to bring awareness to climate change and creating a sustainable planet.

The exhibit will alsohelp to bring awareness to climate change and creating a sustainable planet...

It’s unknown at present what exactly will happen to old Dippy after his return and whether he’ll retire to a dinosaur care home, but considering the financial success of his tour, it seems probable he’ll appear again at some point after December 2022, whether at the Kensington building, on another tour or somewhere else entirely.

Meanwhile, the Natural History Museum will be bidding farewell to its famous ice rink in the coming months, which will be replaced after this winter by “a hub for urban wildlife” which will aim to help the rejuvenation of nature in the city. The NHM also has a number of temporary exhibits running into 2022, including Wildlife Photographer of the YearOur Broken Planet: How We Got Here and Ways to Fix It and Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature.

It’s not often that the cast of an old skeleton is a big tourist event, but Dippy is of course a special case. By the time the Dippy exhibit is open, the museum will hopefully be closer to how it was pre-pandemic, so that as many people can enjoy the attraction as possible. After such a big hit to its visitor numbers, jurassic times call for jurassic measures.


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