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 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.
Brown bears near the Gulf of Alaska reach huge sizes because of their nourishing salmon diet.
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.
Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park offers ideal habitat for cougars: shade to escape the heat, rugged terrain in which to ambush prey and nooks to eat carcasses in private.
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.
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.