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You may have heard that Dippy the Diplodocus has arrived in Cardiff! We recently held the first induction of our new Dippy volunteers, who will be helping out with events and activities taking place throughout the dinosaur’s stay at National Museum Cardiff.

As volunteers our main priority is that visitors get to experience the rest of the museum alongside the main exhibition. Although Dippy will be the centre of attention over the next few months, there will be an array of activities and events designed to broaden the visitor’s experience of the museum. During the training, we learned what these activities will entail, and were given an early preview of the work being done in preparation for Dippy’s stay in Cardiff.

Most of the activities run by volunteers will be based on interactive trolleys at different spots in the museum, in a similar way to the Explore Volunteer trolleys. A lot of the exhibits on these trolleys will be dinosaur-centric, featuring fossils and casts of dinosaur bones. As such we were given a behind-the scenes look at the museum’s paleontological collection, including several dinosaur claws, a cast of a sauropod’s foot and fossils from the Permian era. Some of these fossils will be featured on the trolleys, so keep an eye out for the raptor claws and the Tyrannosaurus teeth! 

There will also be a trolley or two in the art galleys, giving children and adults alike the chance to draw either Dippy, another of the exhibits or anything they like. There will also be several art installations which contribute to the larger theme of the exhibition, namely the environment and climate change. Some of these have already been assembled in collaboration with the Museum's Youth Forum, showing dinosaurs and other animals made out of recyclable materials. This contributes towards the larger theme of the exhibition, exploring ways we can help to protect the planet. 

The new Dippy volunteers also got a glimpse of the virtual reality experience being installed near the Evolution of Wales gallery. Visitors can go on a time-travelling treasure hunt and interact with dinosaurs and other extinct animals while searching for items along the way, from the time of the dinosaurs through to the ice age. Through this VR experience, visitors can see dinosaurs brought to life, thereby putting flesh on the skeletons of Dippy and his prehistoric friends.

Dippy will be staying with us until January next year, and our volunteers will be on hand to enrich our visitors’ experience of this amazing exhibition. Speaking of which, the next blog will feature an appearance from the Diplodocus himself, so here’s looking forward to that!

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