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Where do I start when talking about the experience that has been Dippy?! 

Well he’s certainly been a phenomenon for us here at Amgueddfa Cymru. Right from when we first started installing him back in October last year, people were standing on the balcony watching the very efficient team from the Natural History Museum putting him together piece by piece. Of course we saved the head going on until last! I was fortunate to be permitted into the enclosure and up close to some of the replicated bones, which was very exciting for me.

In the first half term in October we had 53,898 visitors to the museum, an increase of 258% on the previous year. On the Wednesday we had over 10,000 visitors, which is a first for us! What we had been prepared for by a previous venue, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, but that might not instantly occur to you, is that we needed more toilet rolls! Not a very glamorous aspect of Exhibitions & Displays, but a very important one for our visitors! In my last blog I talked a lot about Snake poo, so I’m moving on swiftly from toilet rolls now before I gain a reputation for obsessing about poo! Our front of house staff had their work cut out for them; ensuring visitors could access the whole museum, answering questions on Dippy and keeping them safe. I spent some time in the Main Hall and these amazing people worked so hard. But it wasn’t just in the Main Hall. The galleries were full, especially our Natural History galleries, which was great as we had additional visitors to the museum to see Dippy, but they stayed to explore more of what we have to offer.

We have a special Dippy shop which has been equally full and busy, with staff rushed off their feet – my favourite item is the glittery dinosaur.  There may have been debate about what dinosaurs looked like, but I’m pretty sure no one has found evidence for sequins as yet! Our colleagues in the restaurant and cafe made special menus to account for the increase in visitor footfall, as well as the opportunity to make dinosaur cakes!

In our Temporary Exhibitions Gallery, which was open to the public during holidays and weekends, our colleagues from the Youth Forum worked with artist Megan Broadmeadow to create a strong message about Fast Fashion from recycled clothes. I’m trying to work out where we can keep the pterosaur, which is brilliant. Our messages about the climate emergency within the exhibition and also when Extinction Rebellion Cardiff came and held a ‘die in’ are, for me, highlights of what a museum can achieve when we work with people from outside our organization and be led by their inspiration and creativity.

I’ve spoken with staff from across the museum and everyone seems to have enjoyed having Dippy here, it’s going to seem very empty when he goes at the end of this month – you have until 26 January to see him.

Elena Johnston

Marketing Communications Support Officer

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