What is a Diorama?

What is a diorama? Are the animals real? Where did these animals come from?

Dioramas bring faraway lands and unique species into our museum and just steps away from our visitors. In this video, Academy Senior Director of Exhibits and Public Spaces Jennifer Sontchi explains what’s so special about dioramas from the inside out! Senior Fellow Bob Peck addresses visitor questions about whether dioramas are real–they are!–and why we should be in-the-know about their history and artistic value.

Why are we talking about dioramas? Late this winter and spring, we’re bringing in experts to clean and renovate every inch of the beautiful Takin and Gorilla habitat dioramas. We will install new lighting, repair background paintings, and remove unheard of layers of dust. Look closely–do you see drooping tree branches and curled leaves? Not for long! The experts will be fixing these issues as well.

You can peek through large viewing windows into the temporary work spaces and on occasion ask questions of the workers. You won’t want to miss this one-of-a-kind opportunity to witness the process involved in cleaning and renovating these historic works of art and science that are deeply embedded in the history of the Academy of Natural Sciences.

Video by John Hutelmeyer/ANS

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