of the most famous museum exhibits in the world is heading to Rochdale as part
of an unprecedented national tour.
The Natural History Museum’s famous diplodocus skeleton ‘Dippy’, which has been
seen by tens of millions of visitors since it was first presented to the museum
in 1905, is leaving the museum for the first time to go on a tour of the UK,
and Rochdale’s Number One Riverside has been selected as one of just eight host
venues around the country.
The council’s award-winning customer service centre, office building and
central library will welcome Dippy from February to June 2020 and will be the
only North West stop on the tour.
Rochdale was selected following a competitive bidding process, which saw 90
venues from across the country apply to host the iconic exhibit. The bid was
led by Rochdale Borough Council in partnership with Touchstones Rochdale Museum
and Art Gallery.
The main aim of the tour, which is being supported by The Garfield Weston
Foundation, is to use Dippy as a way of inspiring people to get involved
in science and encourage more youngsters to study the STEM subjects
(Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and take up careers in STEM
Cultural and educational activities focussed around the key themes of origins
and evolution, sustainability and climate change and biodiversity will be put
on at each venue to coincide with Dippy’s stay.
Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for Culture, Health and Wellbeing at
Rochdale Borough Council, said: “This must be the first time an internationally
famous museum exhibit has been placed in a council building and I think it is
fantastic. In doing this, both ourselves and the Natural History Museum are
bringing the natural collection right to people’s doorstep and that is a
once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our young people, many of whom would not be
able to see these incredible artefacts in their usual home.
“Rochdale might seem like an unconventional location for Dippy, but we have a
compelling story to tell. As a place which was at the forefront of the
industrial revolution, we inadvertently damaged the environment, but we are now
leading the way in a sustainable development and our host venue Number One Riverside,
which has a number of environmentally friendly features, is probably the best
example of that.”
Darren Grice, Head of Culture, Health and Participation at Link4Life, said: “At
Touchstones Rochdale we are always looking for opportunities to excite, educate
and inspire people through learning about our past and thinking about our
future. Hosting Dippy in Rochdale provides us with a unique opportunity to do
just this. Not only will people across the North West be blown away by the awe
inspiring scale of a Dippy, we can create a real conversation around climate
change, biodiversity and their impact on the world in which we live.”
Katrina Nilsson, Head of National Public Programmes at the Natural History
Museum, said: “Rochdale is the perfect location for the Dippy on Tour. Nestled
in the Pennines, this market town has a long history of industry and scientific
endeavour. As the Natural History Museum’s tour partner in the North West we
are sure Rochdale will attract people from across the region to come and see
Dippy, and most importantly, to get out and explore nature on their doorstep.”
To find out more about Dippy on Tour in Rochdale, including how businesses can
support the visit, please visit: rochdale.gov.uk/dippy