3 January 2019back

Glasgow Life & Clarkston Chiropractic

Dippy on tour!

Education & learning | Environment | Health & wellbeing | Tourism | Young people

Let’s go on a natural history hunt!

The project

When Dippy (the Natural History Museum’s Diplodocus skeleton cast) went on an eight-stop UK tour, Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum was his only Scottish venue. An accompanying public learning programme was developed by Glasgow Life to both inspire the next generation of scientists and encourage visitors to think about the environment through a natural history adventure similar to Dippy’s.  

Glasgow Life & Clarkston Chiropractic

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In order to develop and deliver this public learning programme effectively, a substantial team of volunteers was required to carry out marshalling and engagement tasks. These included welcoming specific groups (such as nurseries and schools) and guiding them to designated Dippy areas as well as helping the Gallery’s Learning and Access teams by supporting interactive sessions such as ‘Digging for Dinos’. Volunteers were also responsible for welcoming families and assisting with family learning activities such as ‘Make your own Dino Mask’; distributing information and stickers; and engaging visitors with the Dippy ‘selfie spots’.

A total of 50 volunteers and four volunteer organisers were engaged over the 105-day period that Dippy was on display at Kelvingrove, giving a total of 1,515 hours of their time. Without the match funding, Glasgow Life would simply not have been able to deliver such a comprehensive learning programme and, with unprecedented numbers of visitors drawn to the Gallery to see Dippy, enjoyment and safety would have been compromised without the volunteer programme in place. In addition, the volunteer force enjoyed a fun, sociable and meaningful role that also developed their own skills and networks.

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The partnership

Glasgow Life were keen to find a business partner to support the development of their volunteer programme. Ideally a partner with a shared interest in bones…

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Clarkston Chiropractic may be a relatively small firm, but as advocates of good spinal health, who work with local families and school children in the Glasgow area, there seemed to be a natural fit as the exhibition was primarily targeted at school children. The company was immediately enthused by the idea of a partnership and involvement in the project. Their financial support, match funded through CBFS, helped to fund both the public learning programme and the volunteer network. As Clarkston Chiropractic had a fairly limited marketing budget, CBFS match funding significantly increased the impact of their investment.

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The impact

Dippy on Tour! was Kelvingrove’s most visited exhibition ever – its 643,764 visitors not only far outstripped anticipated figures of 390,000, but also represented the highest number of visitors to any venue on Dippy’s UK tour. Response from both the public and the media was overwhelmingly positive and helped to spur interest in the T-Rex in the Town exhibition in Kelvinhall, run in conjunction with the University of Glasgow and the Naturalis Centre in Leiden, Netherlands.

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In excess of 1,500 pieces of media coverage helped to generate this record number of visitors and also allowed Glasgow Life to trial contactless donation facilities in partnership with GoodBox. The results of this successful trial have enabled the heritage organisation to secure £10,000 from their IT company’s community fund for developing a long-term contactless donation solution.

Trends from a volunteer feedback survey show how highly the volunteers valued access to development opportunities (which included autism awareness training, work experience in the museum sector and public engagement) and most have reported that they would be very likely to volunteer for Kelvingrove or Glasgow Life in the future – this supports the heritage organisation’s long-term commitment to increasing its volunteer cohort.

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“I would recommend any business to apply to be in partnership with the Arts. This exhibition opened up a lot of new avenues for us and allowed us to reach a huge audience that we would normally be able to engage with.”

Derek Leitch, Director, Clarkston Chiropractic

“Clarkston Chiropractic were very enthusiastic – posting engaging, jovial photographs and links on their social media channels and running competitions in their clinic for clients. These posts received high engagement and promoted our exhibition to an extended and potentially new audience.”

Jennifer Little, Development Officer, Glasgow Life