Dippy the Diplodocus too big for Preston’s Harris Museum

The Natural History Museum have offered Preston's Harris Museum "Dippy" the Diplodocus during its UK tour, but the gallery have refused it on the ground that it wont fit

The Natural History Museum have offered Preston's Harris Museum "Dippy" the Diplodocus during its UK tour, but the gallery have refused it on the ground that it wont fit

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Hopes of a dinosaur roaring in to one of the city’s premier landmarks has hit a brick wall... literally.

The Natural History Museum announced plans to send its famous Diplodocus skeleton, Dippy, on tour around UK museums from early 2018.

But, despite calls to welcome Dippy to Preston on Twitter, bosses at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery said that although they would love to house the 21.3 metre dinosaur, they doubt they could get it up the famous Harris steps and through the front door!

Hilary Machell, business development manager at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, said: “I’m sure lots of people in Preston would be delighted to see Dippy the dinosaur.

“It would be wonderful to have him here but I think we would not be able to get him through the doors and into the building! It is a shame I’m sure it would be rather fun but probably not something we could do.”

The famous skeleton has been based at the NHM in London since 1905. The news that the 292 bone cast would be replaced by a huge diving whale skelton will be suspended in its place in the summer of 207 was met with furore.

But to ensure that Dippy’s legacy lives on, the museum has launched an ambitious plan to take the giant dinosaur across the whole of the UK.

Sir Michael Dixon, director of the Natural History Museum said: “For many of us, that first glimpse of Dippy was a formative moment in our childhood, evoking awe and a genuine wonder at the natural world. A UK tour of this iconic dinosaur will surely prompt curiosity and a desire to explore, helping to inspire the scientists of tomorrow, generating those ‘lights on’ moments for as many people as possible is at the heart of what museums give to the nation.”

But due to the size of the beast, he will need to be handled carefully and can only be housed in certain indoor museums that would be able to fit him inside and keep him for four to six months.

And despite the fact Preston’s biggest museum is not able to house the impressive model that does not mean Dippy will not storm in to the North West. Sir Michael said: “Dippy needs to be handled carefully: it has taken our conservators several months to be sure that, with care and the right systems in place, it would be possible to tour.”

Dippy the Diplodocus who is to be moved out of the London museum's main hall and forced to retire.

Dippy the Diplodocus who is to be moved out of the London museum's main hall and forced to retire.

“We have never sent anything as big as Dippy beyond the Museum. We already know the costs of touring a Diplodocus will be substantial, depending on where the tour visits and how many places it goes.

“Over the months ahead we will be looking for partners to help us realise our vision of as many people in the UK seeing Dippy as possible.”

And cabinet member for culture and leisure services, Coun Veronica Afrin, admitted it is a shame the city does not have room for the iconic skeleton. She said: “The Harris Museum and Art Gallery is full of wonderful exhibits. Adding Dippy the Diplodocus would have been a fantastic asset, but the Harris doesn’t have space for a 21.3 metre-long dinosaur.

“It would have been another great attraction for visitors alongside the fantastic exhibits currently on display, if only we had room!”

It would be wonderful to have him here but I think we would not be able to get him through the doors and into the building!

Hilary Machell