October 3, 2019, by Jason Feehily

Historic dinosaur display that brought Chinese fossils to Nottingham wins heritage award

A world-exclusive exhibition that brought Chinese dinosaurs to the city of Nottingham has won an ‘excellence in exhibitions’ award.

The Dinosaurs of China exhibition developed by Nottingham City Council Museums Service working with the University of Nottingham received the Judges’ Special Award at the Regional Heritage Awards 2019.

In 2017, more than 130,000 people visited the four-month display to see the rare skeletons and fossils never-before seen outside of Asia, which came about from pioneering research by Dr Wang Qi, an Assistant Professor in Architecture at the University of Nottingham.

Dinosaurs of China brought to life the story of how dinosaurs evolved into the birds that live alongside us today, adopting a new narrative-led approach to the design of a museum, informed by Dr Wang Qi’s research, instead of a traditionally chronological layout.

Based on Dr Wang Qi’s work, Nottingham’s Museum Service focused on curating the exhibition to make it accessible and engaging to the general public. The exhibition drew visitors from Europe and beyond, with 75 schools visiting and taking part in activities designed to inspire an interest in science and scientific research. The accompanying engagement programme, which included science lectures and Q&A sessions, saw 28,000 people take part.

“This was an amazing exhibition which brought many skeletons and fossils to UK and Europe for the first time. The centre piece of the exhibition being the magnificent Mamenchisaurus which was the tallest skeleton ever displayed in the UK. The development of the exhibition took a massive amount of work and collaboration which was rewarded with large number of visitors how came to see this exhibition in Nottingham.”
Councillor Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Localities

“The Dinosaurs of China is a wonderful example of collaborative working with Nottingham City Museums Service, Lakeside Arts, the Asia Business Centre, Nottingham Confucius Institute and our China partners the Beijing Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology; and the Long Hao Institute of Geology and Palaeontology. Dinosaurs of China is a success story for our city, raising Nottingham’s profile and enhancing the local tourism economy.”

Jason Feehily, Director of Knowledge Exchange Asia at the University of Nottingham

The Regional Heritage Awards celebrate the extraordinary and excellent work that is taking place in heritage organisations throughout the East Midlands.

The awards were judged by Dr Abi Hunt, Head of Department (Marketing and Tourism) at the University of Lincoln; Chris Keady, Head of Collections, Learning and Participation and Interim Museum Manager at Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust and Katt Hanson, a Masters student on the Museum and Heritage Development course at Nottingham Trent University.

Story credits
Dr Wang Qi, who specialises in exhibition and museum design, spent four years working with colleagues from across the University; Nottingham City Council; Beijing Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology; and the Long Hao Institute of Geology and Palaeontology to bring the idea to life.

For more information contact Jane Barton at Nottingham City Council on 0115 8761222 jane.barton@nottinghamcity.gov.uk or Emma Thorne in the Press Office at The University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 74 84734 emma.thorne@nottingham.ac.uk

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