Dippy the dinosaur goes on display in Scotland

Dippy the dinosaur has gone on display to the public in Scotland for the first time.

The Natural History Museum’s famous diplodocus is on show at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow for the next four months.

Scotland’s largest city is the most northerly stop for the giant model dinosaur skeleton as it nears the halfway point of its three-year tour of the UK.

Lorraine Cornish, head of conservation at the National History Museum (NHM) in London, said: “Dippy, I think, is the people’s dinosaur – a true rock star.

“We’re so delighted and privileged to be able to tour Dippy around the UK.”

The replica cast, made from plaster of Paris and resin, is an example of the Diplodocus carnegii species that lived between 145 and 156 million years ago and roamed North America.

The species is named after Andrew Carnegie, the industrialist and philanthropist who financed its excavation in Wyoming, US, in 1899 and donated the cast to the NHM.

Unveiled in London in 1905, it caused a huge stir as the first large dinosaur to go on display anywhere in the world.

It was on show in Hintze Hall of the NHM from 1979 until January 2017 and, before the tour, the dinosaur had never been on public display outside of the UK capital.

Dippy the Diplodocus skeleton cast in Glasgow
Dippy the Diplodocus skeleton cast in Glasgow

Head of conservation Lorraine Cornish cleans the skull of Dippy before it was put back together in Glasgow (Jane Barlow/PA)

The 70ft skeleton cast arrived at the centre hall of the Kelvingrove earlier this month after sailing across the Irish Sea.

The model travelled to Scotland by ferry in more than a dozen specially-made crates after being on display in Belfast.

Experts worked to unpack the 292-bone structure and undertake the giant “jigsaw” of putting the dinosaur back together, ready for exhibition opening on Tuesday.

Ms Cornish explained the effort involved in putting the display together.

She said: “Dippy goes into 13 packing crates and there are four more crates which have the base in. It takes two and a half lorries to transport Dippy.

“When he comes in there’s a team of six from the NHM, plus we’ve had amazing technicians here to help take all of Dippy out of the crates.

“Although he’s 292 bones he comes parcelled together in 86 parts. It takes five or six days to actually check Dippy’s condition and then put Dippy together. It’s been quite a team effort.”

“Some sections are very heavy and very fragile. It’s a bit of an art to actually put Dippy together and take Dippy apart.”

On Tuesday, schoolgirl Emillie McQuade got the chance to add the last bone to the model before it went on public display.

The 11-year-old, from Sunnyside School of Conservation, in Craigend, Glasgow, said she was “excited” to have the honour.

She said of the structure: “It’s massive, it’s so big. It’s a really good opportunity for everyone to come here and see Dippy.”

Glasgow is the fourth venue in the eight-city UK tour.

Councillor David McDonald, chairman of Glasgow Life, said: “I think Dippy will be feeling quite at home here at the Kelvingrove.

“I think this is a really fitting location, it’s the prime area of the Kelvingrove and we’re delighted to give it over to such a famous dinosaur.

“Kelvingrove gets 1.3 million visitors a year. We think that having an attraction like Dippy can only help boost those numbers.

“The hope is this will spark people into seeing the rest of the collection. There are over half a million items in Glasgow’s natural history collection on display here but also on display at Nitshill, our museums resource centre, so there’s so much to see here at the Kelvingrove and across the rest of the city.”

Members of the public will be able to view the Jurassic giant on the only Scottish stop of the until early May.