London's Natural History Museum is re-modelling its entrance, moving out the dinosaur and moving in a blue whale. The exchange will not happen overnight: the complex logistics involved mean it will be 2017 before the great cetacean is hanging from the ceiling of the iconic Victorian Hintze Hall.
The museum thinks the change will increase the wow factor for visitors. But it also believes the whale can better convey all the cutting-edge science conducted at the institution. That is something a plaster-cast model of a Diplodocus skeleton - as familiar and as popular as it has become - can no longer do effectively.
"Everyone loves 'Dippy', but it's just a copy," commented Sir Michael Dixon, the NHM's director, "and what makes this museum special is that we have real objects from the natural world - over 80 million of them - and they enable our scientists and thousands like them from around the world to do real research."
The 25m-long blue whale skeleton currently hangs in the mammals gallery. It was acquired for the museum shortly after it opened in 1881. The animal had beached at Wexford on the southeast coast of Ireland. The curators paid £250 for it in 1891, although it was not put on public display in London until 1935.
Every single bone is present. They will now all be carefully dismantled, cleaned and catalogued, and then re-suspended on wires above the Hintze entrance. Anyone walking into the current mammals gallery knows the skeleton to have a flat pose, but the intention is to give it a dramatic, diving posture in its new home.
Richard Sabin, who will oversee the transfer said "It's also one of the largest of its kind on display anywhere in the world; and we know its history, we know how it was killed and processed, and that's quite rare.”
The museum would like to make the switch-over to the whale much faster, but Hintze Hall is a major circulation space and it has to remain open throughout the transition.
Dippy will not disappear. It is likely to feature in a larger exhibit that illustrates how dinosaurs lived in their environment, which could be taken outside to the front of the South Kensington building. There is also the possibility that Dippy could go on tour as well, to bolster the exhibition spaces at regional museums in the UK.
Question 1 (2 points) Indicate whether the following statements are true or false and write down which part of the text justifies your answer.
a. It will be very difficult to move the blue whale into the entrance of the museum.
b. The museum wants to impress visitors.
c. Only scientists from the museum carry out investigations there.
d. The blue whale skeleton is complete.
Question 2 (2 points) Answer the following questions in your own words.
a. Why does the museum think the change will benefit them?
b. How will the movement of the skeleton be made?
Question 3 (1.5 points) Find words or phrases in the text that correspond in meaning to the words and definitions given.
a. to transmit (par.2) b. copy (par.2) c. at present (par.4)
d. to supervise (par.6) e. to support (par.8)
Question 4 (1.5 points) Complete the following sentences without changing the meaning.
a. The museum thinks the change will increase the wow factor for visitors.
b. "Everyone loves 'Dippy', but it's just a copy and what makes this museum special is that we have real objects from the natural world”,.
Sir Michael Dixon commented that...
c. We know the whale history which is quite rare in science.
Question 5 (3 points) Write a short essay (120-150 words) on the following topic:
What type of museums / monuments / attractions do you like visiting when you go on holidays?