September 21, 2020, by Jason Feehily
Dinosaurs of China revisited
Three years ago we were coming to the end of the ground breaking Dinosaurs of China exhibition.
Dinosaurs of China was a one-time only world exclusive exhibition of dinosaurs which came to Europe for the first time. Wollaton Hall in Nottingham hosted the main exhibition, with a complementary exhibition at Lakeside Arts, in July – October 2017. It was a wonderful collaboration between Nottingham Museum Service, the University of Nottingham and Beijing Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP); and the Long Hao Institute of Geology and Paleontology. I was proud to serve as the Chair of the Management Group.
“Possibly the greatest achievement for an English natural history museum… Nottingham 1, the rest of the world 0.”
Featuring fossils and specimens never before seen outside of Asia, Dinosaurs of China brought to life the story of how dinosaurs evolved into the birds that live alongside us today.
The Dinosaurs of China exhibition emerged from research carried out by Dr Wang Qi, an Assistant Professor in Architecture at the University of Nottingham, who specialises in exhibition and museum design. His studies are based on architectural language and how buildings deliver meaning to the public through their space and entities. A joint Continuing Professional Development programe with the University (Asia Business Centre) and IVPP cemented the relationship.
Over a 4 month period, over 130,000 visitors attended to Wollaton Hall and Lakeside Arts Centre. Seventy five schools visited , with activities designed to inspire an interest in science and scientific research. 99% of visitors learned something new about dinosaurs and 90% recorded positive responses to the use of space and presentation of information. Hunter – a 3-metre animatronic dinosaur – proved popular with younger visitors and hundreds of photos were tagged #chinosaurs on social media.
The Dinosaurs of China has enabled a legacy of engagement with an increase in visitors to Nottingham and a Regional Heritage Award in 2019. The most recent is the Lost in Lace and Lacemaking in Nottingham which is currently being displayed in Ningbo Museum in Ningbo, China organised by Nottingham Museums Service.
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