NHM During Half Term

British Natural History Museum during half termThis is a sight I won’t see at home. It’s half term in the U.K. and that brings people and their families into the city in incredible numbers. It’s days like this when you can’t deny that the Natural History Museum gets up to 15,000 visitors in a single day (free admission too). There is literally wall to wall throngs of people. Everywhere. Every corner. I hesitate to leave the department on days like this, just getting to the loo or making it out for lunch is a harrowing obstacle course. It will be this packed all this week and possibly next week, as it seems schools stagger their half term breaks. My friend and I seemingly had the Carnegie to ourselves in April visiting the newly remodeled dinosaur hall.

An interesting connection to the museum back home: taking center stage in the main hall greeting every visitor to the museum is a cast of the Diplodocus carnegii skeleton whose original is housed in the Carnegie. The BM has it’s own Dippy.

The cast was given as a gift by Andrew Carnegie, after meeting with King Edward VII who was fascinated by the fossil animal. Carnegie arranged for a cast to be created at his own expense, at a cost of £2000, copying the original. The pieces were sent to London in 36 crates. The new exhibit was unveiled in May 1905. It created a bit of a stir as the original skeleton had yet to be articulated and mounted back home. Nicknamed “Dippy,” the news of the new exhibit spread. Carnegie eventually paid to have additional copies made for display in most major European capitals, making Dippy the most-seen dinosaur skeleton in the world.