• About This Hall

    • Each of the 43 dioramas in the stunningly restored Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals offers a snapshot of North America’s rich environmental heritage. The hall, which first opened in 1942, focuses on 46 mammal species ranging from the nine-banded armadillo to the white-tailed deer, and its dioramas are widely considered the finest in the world.

      For more than a year, a team of artists, conservators, taxidermists, and designers worked to re-color faded fur, dust delicate leaves, and selectively restore the background paintings for the historic hall's reopening in October 2012. Text accompanying each diorama was updated to offer the latest scientific information about featured species. 

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  • Exhibition Text

    • Enter North America: a continent of contrasts, with mammals in every realm. Some are adapted to forests, some to deserts and others to icy peaks. In this hall, you can explore North America’s chief environments and encounter some of its remarkable residents face to face.

      Each diorama shows an actual place on the continent, at one moment in time, with the plants and animals you’d see there. Many of the places are protected as refuges for wildlife, a legacy of Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency in the early 1900s. Even now, those places still largely resemble their depiction in the dioramas—a tribute to that conservation effort. 

Hall Highlights

Alaska Brown Bear

Alaska Brown Bear

Although brown bears don’t mingle much, these two have gathered at a stream near Canoe Bay, Alaska, lured by the first fish of the salmon run.

Alaskan Moose

Alaskan Moose

Moose are the largest deer in the world. The biggest moose of all live in Alaska, where males can top 1,700 pounds (770 kilograms) and grow antlers 6.8 feet (2.1 meters) wide. 

American Bison and Pronghorn

American Bison and Pronghorn

This diorama is set in the mid-1800s, when the prairies teemed with tens of millions of bison. A few decades later fewer than a thousand remained.

Conservation President

Conservation President

During his presidency, Roosevelt set aside five national parks, four game preserves, 51 bird refuges, and 18 national monuments. He also created or expanded 150 national forests.

Coyote

Coyote

In areas where wolves and cougars are still absent, coyotes act as top predators—although being smaller, they may scavenge as much big game as they catch.

In This Hall

Abert’s Squirrel

Abert’s Squirrel

Only in winter do the perky ears of Abert’s squirrels grow tassels, or tufts of hair.

Alaska Brown Bear

Alaska Brown Bear

Although brown bears don’t mingle much, these two have gathered at a stream near Canoe Bay, Alaska, lured by the first fish of the salmon run.

Alaskan Moose

Alaskan Moose

Moose are the largest deer in the world. The biggest moose of all live in Alaska, where males can top 1,700 pounds (770 kilograms) and grow antlers 6.8 feet (2.1 meters) wide. 

American Badger

American Badger

After a fruitless night of hunting, a badger has discovered a fresh target: the burrow entrance of a Wyoming ground squirrel.

American Bison and Pronghorn

American Bison and Pronghorn

This diorama is set in the mid-1800s, when the prairies teemed with tens of millions of bison. A few decades later fewer than a thousand remained.

American Marten

American Marten

A marten emerges tentatively at the bare rim of Crater Lake in search of ground squirrels.

American Mink

American Mink

Where there’s water, there may be mink. These svelte hunters seek fish and frogs underwater and waterfowl and small mammals near shore.

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep

Stalwart symbols of mountain wilderness, a “bachelor band” of bighorn sheep stands before Mount Athabasca in the Canadian Rockies.

Black Bear

Black Bear

A black bear has startled a venomous cottonmouth snake in this Florida cypress swamp.

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Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals