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Dinosaurs of China: Ground Shakers to Feathered Flyers

Wollaton Hall and Lakeside Arts played host to an exclusive exhibition of the most important and iconic dinosaur fossils in the world, seen outside Asia for the first time in 160 million years.

The 13.5m tall Mamenchisaurus skeleton dominates the exhibition.

The Dinosaurs of China exhibition, which told the story of how dinosaurs evolved into the birds that live alongside us today, was made possible because of one Associate Professor’s hard work.

Dr Wang Qi specialises in exhibition and museum design at the University of Nottingham. His pioneering research had caught the eyes of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) in Beijing, which houses Asia’s greatest collection of vertebrate and human fossils.

It took six years, and an incredible amount of work, together with Nottingham City Council Museums Service, Lakeside Arts, IVPP and the Long Hao Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, to create the four-month long exhibition which saw over 130,000 visitors from Aberdeen to Australia.

Dr Tom Hartman, Dr Wang Qi and Dr. Adam Smith with Mamenchisaurus head outside Wollaton Hall

The New Scientist reported on the exhibition: "Landing an exhibition called Dinosaurs of China is possibly the greatest achievement for an English natural history museum – a prize many bigger and more successful ones will be eyeing with envy… Nottingham 1, the rest of the world 0."

Over the summer of 2017, around 60,000 children – two thirds of them from Nottinghamshire – took the once in a lifetime opportunity to visit the exhibition and its centrepiece - an immense 13.5m tall Mamenchisaurus skeleton, the tallest ever displayed in the UK.

Take a 3D tour of the exhibition at

“The feathered dinosaurs of China are national treasures and my colleagues in China were very excited by the project at Wollaton Hall. It was a huge responsibility and all started with me literally knocking on the door.”

Dr Wang Qi, Associate Professor in Architecture, University of Nottingham

“Thanks to the special relationship forged with China by the University of Nottingham and Nottingham City Council, we have this unique opportunity to host a natural history exhibition of international significance in our city.”

Councillor David Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Nottingham City Council