Dippy the Dinosaur has returned to the Natural History Museum as part of a new installation following a four-year tour of the UK.
The 85ft-long (26m) plaster cast of a diplodocus skeleton was first put on display in the London museum in 1905.
The new installation, Dippy Returns: The Nation’s Favourite Dinosaur, will be on display until January and celebrates the landscapes visited by Dippy on his national tour, during which he was seen by more than two million people.
The museum said the tour had been a success, with local economies across eight regions considerably boosted by the influx of visitors.
Speaking about Dippy’s return to London, museum director Dr Doug Gurr said: “We are beyond thrilled to welcome Dippy home to the Natural History Museum.
“Always proving popular and having just completed a smash-hit tour where over two million people around the UK visited our Jurassic giant, we are certain Dippy will bring a smile to visitors’ faces this summer at the Natural History Museum.
“While on tour Dippy encouraged people to engage with nature and inspired them to protect it, and we hope that our new installation will continue to do just that.
“At a time when biodiversity is under threat, it is more important than ever to protect the natural world and build a future where both people and planet thrive.”
Ahead of the installation opening to the public on May 27, children from a London school were given the opportunity to visit Dippy at the museum, where they were given a talk about the biology and ecology of the diplodocus and also learned about Dippy’s history.
Dippy Returns will feature visitors’ reflections after meeting him on his UK tour and how it inspired them to reconnect with the nature on their doorsteps.
The installation will be on show in the Natural History Museum’s Waterhouse Gallery, where it was previously displayed in the 1970s.
During his existence, Dippy has been displayed in different areas of the museum, including the Reptiles Gallery and Hintze Hall, as well as a brief stint in the basement to protect the cast during the Second World War.
The Natural History Museum is currently seeking a new partner to host Dippy on a long-term loan at the conclusion of the installation and applications are now open.
– Dippy Returns: The Nation’s Favourite Dinosaur will be on display from May 27 to January 3 2023 at the Natural History Museum. Admission is free but tickets must be booked in advance.