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Exhibition details revealed ahead of Dippy the dinosaur’s visit to Norwich Cathedral this summer

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Dippy, the Natural History Museum’s iconic Diplodocus cast, will be taking up residence in the Cathedral’s Nave in July, and the Dippy on Tour exhibition will run from Tuesday 13 July 2021 until Saturday 30 October 2021.

Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure is being brought to Norwich Cathedral and visitors across the UK by the Natural History Museum in partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation, and supported by Dell EMC and Williams & Hill. Norwich Cathedral is the eighth and final stop on the tour and Barratt and Cooke is the regional sponsor for the exhibition.

Dinosaur fans eager to know what to expect from Dippy’s visit can now find out more on a new Dippy microsite which is linked to the Cathedral’s own website. This details everything from opening times and other practical information about the exhibition to fun dinosaur activities for people to enjoy at home. Throughout Dippy’s stay in Norwich, the Dippy microsite will be continually updated with all the latest news about Dippy’s visit and people are being encouraged to check the website for the most up to date information ahead of visiting the exhibition.

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd Jane Hedges, said: “We are delighted to share more details about Dippy on Tour at Norwich Cathedral this summer and we hope people enjoy exploring our new Dippy microsite which features all the latest details about the exhibition.

“Dippy’s visit is now just a month away and behind the scenes our Cathedral team has been busy working alongside the Natural History Museum and many different local organisations to ensure that Dippy’s visit will be an unforgettable experience for all who visit.

“We cannot wait to open the exhibition on July 13 and are looking forward to a wonderful summer full of dinosaur fun!”

Entry to the Dippy on Tour exhibition will be free and there will be no need to book in advance (unless part of a group of more than six people), although people may need to queue during busy periods. People will also need to adhere to the latest COVID regulations at all times.

Visitors will start their Dippy on Tour experience from the Dark Entry of the Cathedral’s Cloister and, before coming face-to-face with Dippy, they will step back into the age of the dinosaurs via a time tunnel created by Norwich School students and pupils from other local primary schools. They will also be able to take a closer look at fossils kindly loaned by Norfolk Museums Service and walk through an immersive wave sculpture created by Norfolk-based artist Mark Reed and called Your Waves Go Over Me.

In the Cathedral’s Nave, Dippy will take centre stage against the stunning backdrop of the Cathedral’s 900-year-old architecture, with the iconic 26m dinosaur cast stretching out to face the Cathedral’s Great West Door. Also in the Nave, Children will be able to have fun following Dippy’s footprints to find some of Dippy’s fellow dinosaurs and learn some fun facts about dinosaurs and Norwich Cathedral too.

Dippy’s nationwide tour aims to inspire people to engage with nature, to think about the great diversity of life that has lived on Earth, and to consider our own footprint on the planet. As the only Cathedral on Dippy’s tour, Dippy’s Norwich visit also aims to spark conversations about science and faith.

Norfolk-based artist Rebecca Osborne will be drawing upon some of these themes in a special series of illustrated panels created especially for the Norwich stop on Dippy’s tour, meanwhile there will also be a display of green hearts created by Norfolk WI members that aim to encourage everyone to think about the Earth’s future and help combat climate change. People will also be encouraged to make their own individual pledge to help protect the planet before they leave the Dippy on Tour exhibition.

Outside in The Close, people will be able to learn more about some of Dippy’s closest living relatives – birds – thanks to the Hawk and Owl Trust who will have a stand in the Cathedral Close throughout the duration of Dippy’s visit. Here, people will be able to find out more about the Cathedral’s famous peregrine falcons who have made the spire their home.

The Dippy on Tour exhibition will open to the public from 1pm on Tuesday 13 July, and from then on it will usually be open six days a week until Saturday 30 October 2021. The opening times will be 10am-4pm Monday to Friday and 9.30am to 5.30pm on Saturdays. From Friday 30 July, people will also be able to visit Dippy every Friday evening from 7pm until 9pm.

Running alongside Dippy’s visit, there will also be a special programme of Dippy-inspired events featuring everything from film nights to dino tales and talks. Full details about the all of the events will be available from early July and tickets for all Dippy events will be available to book via the Dippy pages of the Cathedral website.

  • Every Saturday morning from 9am until 9.30am, Saturday Stories will take place, giving children the unique chance to hear some dinosaur tales read aloud under the tail of Dippy.
  • Talkative Tuesdays will be a weekly series of evening talks taking place around Dippy. These talks will focus on the encounter between faith and science through the ages, ranging from accounts of Creation in the Bible to mediaeval monasteries to today’s climate crisis.
  • There will also be a Fun Thursdays programme which will feature everything from film screenings of Jurassic Park and Paddington Bear (in which Dippy makes a cameo appearance) to unique organ recitals played by the Cathedral’s musicians. There will also be a quiz night and drawing and photography evenings for people to capture Dippy on camera or canvas outside of the busy times of the daytime exhibition.
  • Guided tours will also take place twice a day Monday to Saturday and preparations are also under way for a special farewell event in the final week of Dippy’s stay. More details will be announced about this at a later date!

For Dippy’s visit, safety continues to be the number one priority. With the continued uncertainty with regard to COVID-19, Norwich Cathedral and the Natural History Museum are working together closely to ensure that visitors will be able to enjoy the exhibition safely when it opens in July.

The Dean of Norwich said: “As we prepare to welcome Dippy, our planning is being continually updated in line with the latest coronavirus guidance to ensure that the Cathedral continues to be COVID-secure and that we can offer visitors the safest possible environment to enjoy seeing our prehistoric guest.”

Dippy has previously visited Dorset County Museum, Birmingham Museum and Art GalleryUlster MuseumKelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, GlasgowGreat North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle upon Tyne, National Museum Cardiff and Rochdale’s Number One Riverside. The famous 26-metre long (85ft) dinosaur cast took centre stage in the Natural History Museum’s Hinzte Hall for many years before embarking on the current UK tour. Dippy had originally been due to go on display in Norwich Cathedral in Summer 2020 but his visit was rescheduled to January to March 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic before being postponed to Summer 2021.

Dippy’s home in the east is also a busy working Cathedral and the Cathedral’s daily pattern of worship will continue throughout Dippy’s visit. The Dippy exhibition will be closed on Sundays and there will also be other occasions when opening times may vary. All the latest details will be made available on the Dippy pages of the Cathedral website.

The East End of the Cathedral will also continue to be open daily for general Cathedral visitors and those who wish to explore more of the Cathedral before or after they have seen Dippy.

Photos used by kind permission of the Trustees of the Natural History Museum.