What's It Like Cleaning Dippy The Diplodocus?

James Drury
By James Drury Last edited 16 months ago
What's It Like Cleaning Dippy The Diplodocus?
Conservation specialist Helen Walker gives Dippy a clean
Conservation specialist Helen Walker gives Dippy a clean.

You'll need more than just a feather duster to get the Natural History Museum's star attraction clean.

The fragile plaster and resin bones of Dippy the diplodocus collect significant amounts of dust and it's down to exhibition specialist Helen Walker to keep it in tip top shape, as she explains in this article on the museum's website.

Twice a year she gets out a special vacuum and conservationist's brushes to clean the model, which has for years been the first thing to welcome visitors to the Kensington attraction.

The museum's star attraction will be in tour in 2018.

Helen says: "The amazing thing about cleaning that kind of specimen is that you can stand under the ribcage and get a feel for the size of the dinosaur. I also get to see the world from Dippy's perspective."

Dippy will go on tour around the UK throughout 2018, which will require frequent dismantling and putting together again of the specimen — a feat fraught with complexity.

The sauropod will be replaced in the Hintze Hall by the skeleton of a blue whale. Dippy, who's been on display in the hall since 1970, will be dismantled in January with much greater care than this sequence from Bringing Up baby.

Find out more, including how to see Dippy on tour, on the NHM website.

Last Updated 15 December 2016