Let's Talk With Sean Murtha About Dioramas
What makes a great diorama? Learn how this museum artist had to develop new techniques in order to create background paintings.
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In this Q&A interview, available both online and as a printable PDF, Sean Murtha talks about his work as an artist in the museum's exhibitions department. He answers nearly 20 questions, including:
- Do you remember your first trip to the American Museum of Natural History?
- What does the process of painting a diorama background consist of?
- Ideally, what effect should a diorama background painting have on a viewer?
- Do you work off photographs?
- Did you discover anything unusual inside the Hall or any of its dioramas while you were working on them?
- What's your favorite thing about what you do?
Less than 1 period
Supplement a study of ocean life or art with an activity drawn from this look at diorama backgrounds.
- Ask students how they think museums get the backgrounds for their exhibits. Who creates them? How?
- Send them to this online interview, or print copies of it for them to read.
- Have students write a one-page reaction to the article, focusing on what they learned about the importance of diorama backgrounds.
OriginHall of Ocean Life