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Diorama Creation and Restoration

Built in stages between 1936 and 1963, the Hall of North American Mammals showcases what many consider to be the finest habitat dioramas in the world. The 41 scenes are meticulous depictions of real North American places and the species found there, created by the artists below. In 2011 and 2012, a team of Museum conservators and artists conducted an extensive restoration and conservation of this hall’s dioramas, led by senior project manager Stephen C. Quinn.


After sketching at a field site, artists painted each vista on a curved backdrop to create the illusion of unbroken scenery.

Abert's Squirrel (1962): Matthew Kalmenoff

Alaska brown bear (1941): Belmore Browne (George Browne assisting)

American badger (1960): James Perry Wilson

American bison and pronghorn (1942): James Perry Wilson (Fred Scherer assisting)

American marten (1962): James Perry Wilson

American mink (1959): Matthew Kalmenoff

Bighorn sheep (1942): Belmore Browne (George Browne assisting)

Black bear (1947): James Perry Wilson

Black-footed ferret (1962): Matthew Kalmenoff

Black-tailed and antelope jackrabbits (1941): James Perry Wilson

Canada lynx and snowshoe hare (1952): James Perry Wilson

Caribou (Grant) (1942): Belmore Browne (George Browne assisting)

Caribou (Osborn) (1942): Belmore Browne (George Browne assisting)

Collared Peccary (1962): Matthew Kalmenoff

Cougar (1941): Charles Chapman

Coyote (1949): James Perry Wilson

Dall sheep (1941): Belmore Browne (George Browne assisting)

Eastern cottontail (1947): James Perry Wilson

Ermine and vole (1954): James Perry Wilson

Fisher and porcupine (1954): James Perry Wilson

Gray fox and opossum (1954): James Perry Wilson

Grizzly bear (1941): James Perry Wilson

Groundhog (1962): Matthew Kalmenoff

Jaguar (1942): James Perry Wilson

Moose (1940): Carl Rungius

Mountain goat (1939): Belmore Browne (1946)

Mule deer (1943): James Perry Wilson

Musk ox (1941): Francis Lee Jaques

Nine-banded armadillo (1962): Matthew Kalmenoff

North American beaver (1954): James Perry Wilson

Northern flying squirrel (1962): James Perry Wilson

Raccoon (1954): James Perry Wilson

River otter (1962): James Perry Wilson

Sewellel (1954): James Perry Wilson

Spotted skunk and ringtail (1942): James Perry Wilson

Striped skunk (1947): James Perry Wilson

Wapiti (1941): James Perry Wilson

Western gray squirrel (1954): James Perry Wilson

White-tailed deer (1940): Fred Scherer

Wolf (1948): James Perry Wilson

Wolverine (1960): Matthew Kalmenoff


Artists collected some foreground objects at the field site and created others as replicas.

Abert's Squirrel (1962): George Petersen

Alaska brown bear (1941): G. Frederick Mason (Joseph Guerry assisting)

American badger (1960): Freidoun Jalayer

American bison and pronghorn (1942): Raymond DeLucia, G. Frederick Mason, George Petersen, Charles Tornell

American marten (1962): Freidoun Jalayer

American mink (1959): Raymond DeLucia

Bighorn sheep (1942): Joseph Guerry (Raymond DeLucia, George Frederick Mason, Charles Tornell, and Paul Wright assisting)

Black bear (1947): George Petersen

Black-footed ferret (1962): Raymond DeLucia

Black-tailed and antelope jackrabbits (1941): Carlton McKinley, George Petersen, Paul Wright

Canada lynx and snowshoe hare (1952): Charles Tornell

Caribou (Grant) (1942): G. Frederick Mason

Caribou (Osborn) (1942): G. Frederick Mason

Collared Peccary (1962): Raymond DeLucia

Cougar (1941): Raymond DeLucia, G. Frederick Mason

Coyote (1949): Raymond DeLucia

Dall sheep (1941): G. Frederick Mason

Eastern cottontail (1947): Raymond DeLucia (Raymond Bermudez assisting)

Ermine and vole (1954): Tomas Newbery

Fisher and porcupine (1954): Charles Tornell

Gray fox and opossum (1954): Freidoun Jalayer

Grizzly bear (1941): Bernard Chapman, Raymond DeLucia, George Petersen

Groundhog (1962): Raymond DeLucia

Jaguar (1942): Raymond DeLucia, George Petersen, Paul Wright

Moose (1940): G. Frederick Mason (James Carmel assisting)

Mountain goat (1939): Joseph Guerry, George Petersen

Mule deer (1943): Raymond DeLucia, Paul Wright

Musk ox (1941): G. Frederick Mason

Nine-banded armadillo (1962): Raymond DeLucia

North American beaver (1954): Freidoun Jalayer

Northern flying squirrel (1962): Freidoun Jalayer

Raccoon (1954): Freidoun Jalayer

River otter (1962): Tomas Newbery

Sewellel (1954): Reginald Sayre

Spotted skunk and ringtail (1942): Raymond DeLucia, George Petersen

Striped skunk (1947): Raymond DeLucia

Wapiti (1941): George Petersen (G. Frederick Mason, Charles Tornell, and Robert Scherer assisting)

Western gray squirrel (1954): Raymond DeLucia

White-tailed deer (1940): Ushinosuke Narahara

Wolf (1948): Raymond DeLucia

Wolverine (1960): Raymond DeLucia


The animals are "real," meaning that taxidermists made each from an animal's pelt that covers a model of its body.

Abert's Squirrel (1962): James Hagenmayer

Alaska brown bear (1941): Robert Rockwell

American badger (1960): James Hagenmayer

American bison and pronghorn (1942): Robert Rockwell

American marten (1962): James Hagenmayer

American mink (1959): David J. Schwendeman

Bighorn sheep (1942): Robert Rockwell

Black bear (1947): Gardell Christensen

Black-footed ferret (1962): James Hagenmayer

Black-tailed and antelope jackrabbits (1941): George Adams

Canada lynx and snowshoe hare (1952): George Adams (hare), Robert Rockwell (lynx)

Caribou (Grant) (1942): Robert Rockwell

Caribou (Osborn) (1942): Gardell Christensen,  Robert Rockwell 

Collared Peccary (1962): Jonas Bros., Inc.

Cougar (1941): George Adams, Gardell Christensen

Coyote (1949): Gardell Christensen

Dall sheep (1941): Robert Rockwell

Eastern cottontail (1947): David B. Schwendeman (1986) 

Ermine and vole (1954): James Hagenmayer

Fisher and porcupine (1954): George Adams

Gray fox and opossum (1954): Gardell Christensen

Grizzly bear (1941): Gardell Christensen

Groundhog (1962): James Hagenmayer

Jaguar (1942): George Adams

Moose (1940): Robert Rockwell

Mountain goat (1939): Gardell Christensen

Mule deer (1943): George Adams

Musk ox (1941): Robert Rockwell

Nine-banded armadillo (1962): Jonas Bros, Inc.

North American beaver (1954): George Adams

Northern flying squirrel (1962): James Hagenmayer

Raccoon (1954): Gardell Christensen

River otter (1962): James Hagenmayer

Sewellel (1954): George Dante (2012)

Spotted skunk and ringtail (1942): George Adams

Striped skunk (1947): George Adams

Wapiti (1941): Robert Rockwell

Western gray squirrel (1954): James Hagenmayer

White-tailed deer (1940): Gardell Christensen

Wolf (1948): George Adams

Wolverine (1960): James Hagenmayer

Panel Image Credits

Panel line art illustrations: Patricia J. Wynne

Diorama photographs: Denis Finnin

Current species range maps: Roland W. Kays and Don E. Wilson, Mammals of North America, 2009

Historic species range maps: Andrea S. Laliberte and William J. Ripple, Bioscience 54, no. 2 (2004): 123­–138, unless otherwise noted.

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