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Our Dino in China: The Pied Piper of Puppets

By: Mr David Bock, Category: At The Museum, Date: 23 Jul 2012

Our puppet dinosaur, Winny the Muttaburrasaurus, is on a mission to the Beijing Museum of Natural History. Dino Operator and Visitor Events Co-ordinator David Bock reports on the huge stir Winny caused on her first day in the Museum.

Beijing Museum of Natural History

David Bock © Australian Museum

Our Dino in China

We left our hotel for the Beijing Natural History Museum this morning for our first meeting. The first hurdle was flagging down a taxi in a suit on a hot, steamy day, but we managed to arrive on time (and hydrated).

We talked to the director and assistant director. Our ideas were similar and we know the same people. The world of museums is small.

The meeting was an eating meeting. There was my own personal plate of giant grapes, cherry tomatoes, lychees and a banana.

The director then took us to see his own area of expertise: their world famous fossil feathered dinosaurs. OK, I'm officially jealous (maybe Winny should have a feather boa, that might be more realistic). Their recent work has uncovered the colour of the feathers: black. It looks like crow is the new dinosaur.

The Chinese media came to the Museum this afternoon to meet Winny. She went for a walk in front of the media and this will definitely make the news - luckily I learned how to roar in Mandarin.

Winny strolled thought their dinosaur gallery and was mobbed. Everyone wanted to pat her. These school holiday crowds are huge. They limit their visitor numbers to 'only' 4000 a day, so she made many instant friends.

Winny did a 'pied piper' in the Museum with children following her back to the empty exhibition hall. Apparently they wanted their own show. So there was no other option but to send Winny out for a quickie.

It was our first attempt at performing with a translator. It went well, the Chinese children were both disturbed and entertained by getting up close to a dinosaur.

At the end of the day, I was pooped but we were soon at dinner. I lost count at around the fifteen dish placed on the lazy susan. Wood ears turns out be a fungus. And then the Peking Duck arrived. Fabulous. Damn this hard work.

Learn more about Winny the Dinosaur Puppet