The famous Dippy the Diplodocus is coming to Scotland in 2019.

An 84ft-long dinosaur will visit Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum thanks to a Twitter campaign that has demonstrated just what social media can achieve when it comes to reaching new audiences.

Dippy the Diplodocus has been one of the most popular residents at London’s Natural History Museum since his first unveiling in 1905 and was even disassembled and relocated to a basement during World War II to save him from bomb damage. But when the museum announced in January 2015 that the model – comprised of 292 bones – would be replaced by a blue whale skeleton, an angry public took to Twitter to commiserate and criticise.

Using the hashtag #savedippy, furious fans wrote tweets such as “when I go to the Natural History Museum I want Jurassic Park, not Free Willy“. Or this one:

Realising just how big Dippy’s fan base was, the museum has now announced he is going on tour across the country to eight different venues. His exclusive Scottish date will be at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow in Spring 2019. By responding to the outcry, museum professionals managed to excite existing visitors and reach out to new ones across the whole UK.

A public outcry like this tells us that, at least in some cases, there are opportunities to connect visitors to collections more actively by giving them a voice in exhibition decisions. It offers an opportunity to increase relevance and build engagement with the public programmes.


Main image credit: Natural History Museum and Dippy by Eric Heupel (CC BY-NC 2.0)