One 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 industries.
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