1. Happy National Dog Day! 

    Pictured is the Hunting Dog diorama in the Akeley Hall of African Mammals. The scene, which takes place on the Serengeti Plain in Northern Tanzania, shows the predatory dogs with their gaze fixed on a distant grazing zebra. 

    Roaming savannas and open woodlands in packs numbering up to thirty, hunting dogs run down their prey of gazelles, wildebeests, impalas, and zebras with great mastery. Traveling in over hundreds of square miles, they are successful in about 70 percent of their hunts. 

    See more in the Akeley Hall of African Mammals

  2. Sewellel (Mountain Beaver) - August Morning, Mount Rainier, Washington
Neither a beaver nor a high-mountain dweller, the sewellel is a rather singular animal. It’s the last living member of a once-successful family of rodents called the Aplodontiidae. The sewellel is a “living fossil,” showing primitive skeletal features that other rodents have lost. Its kidneys are also unusual: they are inefficient at maintaining the body’s water balance. Thus the sewellel needs to live close to water so it can drink a lot—a third of its weight in water per day. 
This diorama is located in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals.

    Sewellel (Mountain Beaver)August Morning, Mount Rainier, Washington

    Neither a beaver nor a high-mountain dweller, the sewellel is a rather singular animal. It’s the last living member of a once-successful family of rodents called the Aplodontiidae. The sewellel is a “living fossil,” showing primitive skeletal features that other rodents have lost. Its kidneys are also unusual: they are inefficient at maintaining the body’s water balance. Thus the sewellel needs to live close to water so it can drink a lot—a third of its weight in water per day. 

    This diorama is located in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals.

  3. Today’s peek into the archives shows us “Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Horsfall working on background of Wild Turkey Habitat Group, North American Bird Hall.” Photographed by Otis J. Wheelock in 1907. 
For more images of diorama construction and more than 7,000 other archival images, head to our new online database Digital Special Collections.
AMNH/31655

    Today’s peek into the archives shows us “Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Horsfall working on background of Wild Turkey Habitat Group, North American Bird Hall.” Photographed by Otis J. Wheelock in 1907. 

    For more images of diorama construction and more than 7,000 other archival images, head to our new online database Digital Special Collections.

    AMNH/31655

  4. Mountain Goat - August, Tongass National Forest, Southern Alaska
No mammal is more sure-footed on steep peaks than the mountain goat. Its agility and traction surpasses even that of wild sheep. Among the goat’s advantages are muscular forelimbs to help brake on downhills and race upslope.  This climber can gain 75 feet (23 meters) of altitude in only a minute. 
In fact, a young mountain goat can climb anywhere its mother can within a week after birth.   The kid in this scene is about three months old  and was probably born on a high cliff.  

This diorama is located in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals.

    Mountain GoatAugust, Tongass National Forest, Southern Alaska

    No mammal is more sure-footed on steep peaks than the mountain goat. Its agility and traction surpasses even that of wild sheep. Among the goat’s advantages are muscular forelimbs to help brake on downhills and race upslope.  This climber can gain 75 feet (23 meters) of altitude in only a minute. 

    In fact, a young mountain goat can climb anywhere its mother can within a week after birth.   The kid in this scene is about three months old  and was probably born on a high cliff.  

    This diorama is located in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals.

  5. Happy #MuseumCats day from the Canada Lynx! 
In this diorama, a snowshoe hare has captured the attention of a Canada lynx. If the hare acts quickly, it may escape. Lynxes specialize in hunting rabbits. They have broad, well-furred paws and fast reflexes. Lynx hearing and vision are also excellent for tracking rabbits on the run. 
Watch a video about the recent restoration of this diorama. 

    Happy #MuseumCats day from the Canada Lynx! 

    In this diorama, a snowshoe hare has captured the attention of a Canada lynx. If the hare acts quickly, it may escape. Lynxes specialize in hunting rabbits. They have broad, well-furred paws and fast reflexes. Lynx hearing and vision are also excellent for tracking rabbits on the run. 

    Watch a video about the recent restoration of this diorama

  6. North American Beaver - July evening, Central Michigan
The beaver is not your typical rodent. It’s the largest one on the continent, and the only one that can cut down mature trees. As semiaquatic rodents, beavers have closeable ears and nostrils, webbed hind feet and very dense fur coats. Their paddlelike tails appear to be covered in scales like a fish, but they aren’t. Rather, the skin is grooved in a scaly pattern, which makes the thick tail more flexible.
Beavers can drastically alter landscapes. Working  in family groups of four to eight, a beaver colony can cut down more than a ton of trees per year. This colony has dammed a stream with logs, mud and stones to make a pond. The land is so newly flooded that some trees have not yet drowned. 
By altering streams, beavers expand wetlands , offering rich habitat for other species. Beaver ponds can also control runoff and reduce erosion. Eventually, this pond will clog with sediment. At that point, or when all accessible trees are cut, the colony will abandon its effort and begin again elsewhere.
This diorama is located in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals. 

    North American Beaver - July evening, Central Michigan

    The beaver is not your typical rodent. It’s the largest one on the continent, and the only one that can cut down mature trees. As semiaquatic rodents, beavers have closeable ears and nostrils, webbed hind feet and very dense fur coats. Their paddlelike tails appear to be covered in scales like a fish, but they aren’t. Rather, the skin is grooved in a scaly pattern, which makes the thick tail more flexible.

    Beavers can drastically alter landscapes. Working  in family groups of four to eight, a beaver colony can cut down more than a ton of trees per year. This colony has dammed a stream with logs, mud and stones to make a pond. The land is so newly flooded that some trees have not yet drowned. 

    By altering streams, beavers expand wetlands , offering rich habitat for other species. Beaver ponds can also control runoff and reduce erosion. Eventually, this pond will clog with sediment. At that point, or when all accessible trees are cut, the colony will abandon its effort and begin again elsewhere.

    This diorama is located in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals

  7. Considered the most social of cats, lions live in prides that consist of one or more males, several females, and cubs. While a male lion consumes an average of 5,500 pounds of meat a year—mostly wildebeest, zebra, and antelopes—females do most of the actual hunting.
African lions breed at 3½ years old, and the cubs are born spotted at birth. Male lions weigh about 375 pounds while females average 265 pounds. In captivity, lions have lived up to 25 years, but in the wild they usually survive only half as long.
Find this diorama in the Akeley Hall of African Mammals.

    Considered the most social of cats, lions live in prides that consist of one or more males, several females, and cubs. While a male lion consumes an average of 5,500 pounds of meat a year—mostly wildebeest, zebra, and antelopes—females do most of the actual hunting.

    African lions breed at 3½ years old, and the cubs are born spotted at birth. Male lions weigh about 375 pounds while females average 265 pounds. In captivity, lions have lived up to 25 years, but in the wild they usually survive only half as long.

    Find this diorama in the Akeley Hall of African Mammals.

  8. American badger - July Morning, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
After a fruitless night of hunting, a badger has discovered a fresh target: the burrow entrance of a Wyoming ground squirrel. Badgers will dig furiously to excavate underground prey and their own dens. They can quickly tunnel themselves out of sight  using powerful forelimbs and long claws. When attacked themselves—cougars and eagles will try —badgers fight back with ferocity.
This beautiful diorama is located in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals. 

    American badger - July Morning, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

    After a fruitless night of hunting, a badger has discovered a fresh target: the burrow entrance of a Wyoming ground squirrel. Badgers will dig furiously to excavate underground prey and their own dens. They can quickly tunnel themselves out of sight  using powerful forelimbs and long claws. When attacked themselves—cougars and eagles will try —badgers fight back with ferocity.

    This beautiful diorama is located in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals

  9. Wolverine - July, 11:30 pm, Nunavut, Canada
Canada’s Barren Lands are so far north that trees barely grow and the summer sun sets near midnight. This is prime wolverine country: cool, remote and with room to roam. Wolverines are tireless nomads, traveling many miles a day and scaling sheer slopes to find food and mates. Their strength and ferocity is legendary, but wolverines are choosy about what they attack.
What is a Wolverine? Although their name sounds wolfish, wolverines are not closely related to wolves. They look bearlike, but no close relation there, either. Wolverines are instead the largest member of the mustelids, or weasel family.
This diorama is located in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals.

    Wolverine - July, 11:30 pm, Nunavut, Canada

    Canada’s Barren Lands are so far north that trees barely grow and the summer sun sets near midnight. This is prime wolverine country: cool, remote and with room to roam. Wolverines are tireless nomads, traveling many miles a day and scaling sheer slopes to find food and mates. Their strength and ferocity is legendary, but wolverines are choosy about what they attack.

    What is a Wolverine? Although their name sounds wolfish, wolverines are not closely related to wolves. They look bearlike, but no close relation there, either. Wolverines are instead the largest member of the mustelids, or weasel family.

    This diorama is located in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals.

  10. Black-tailed and antelope jackrabbits - June at noon, near Tucson, Arizona
The dioramas at the Museum precisely depict a moment in time—a specific location, and in the case of this diorama, time of day, complete with indigenous flora and wildlife. 
The black-tailed jackrabbit (left) and antelope jackrabbit (right) are often seen idling or running together, but make no mistake, these are two different species. Both hares have long ears and legs, but antelope jackrabbits’ ears are even more enormous. Black-tailed jackrabbits are distinguished by black tails and ear-tips. In a race, the antelope jackrabbit would win, reaching speeds of 44 miles (72 kilometers) per hour.
This diorama is located in the Jill and Lewis Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals.

    Black-tailed and antelope jackrabbitsJune at noon, near Tucson, Arizona

    The dioramas at the Museum precisely depict a moment in time—a specific location, and in the case of this diorama, time of day, complete with indigenous flora and wildlife. 

    The black-tailed jackrabbit (left) and antelope jackrabbit (right) are often seen idling or running together, but make no mistake, these are two different species. Both hares have long ears and legs, but antelope jackrabbits’ ears are even more enormous. Black-tailed jackrabbits are distinguished by black tails and ear-tips. In a race, the antelope jackrabbit would win, reaching speeds of 44 miles (72 kilometers) per hour.

    This diorama is located in the Jill and Lewis Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals.

  11. 






Coyote - June, Yosemite Valley, California 
A coyote sends a yippy howl, a long-distance call which wards off packs nearby. The second coyote may chime in to broadcast the number in its pack, but for now it is preoccupied with digging for a gopher or another burrower. 
This diorama is located in the Jill and Lewis Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals.

    Coyote - June, Yosemite Valley, California

    A coyote sends a yippy howl, a long-distance call which wards off packs nearby. The second coyote may chime in to broadcast the number in its pack, but for now it is preoccupied with digging for a gopher or another burrower. 

    This diorama is located in the Jill and Lewis Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals.

  12. Big Bend National Park was established in Texas on this day in 1944.
This beautiful park is the setting for the Museum’s collared peccary diorama, which depicts this distant cousin of the domestic pig. Collared peccaries are sociable and often travel in herds of a dozen or more. Armed with long, tapering canine teeth, collared peccaries are also known as javelinas, from a Spanish word meaning “spear.”
More in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals.

    Big Bend National Park was established in Texas on this day in 1944.

    This beautiful park is the setting for the Museum’s collared peccary diorama, which depicts this distant cousin of the domestic pig. Collared peccaries are sociable and often travel in herds of a dozen or more. Armed with long, tapering canine teeth, collared peccaries are also known as javelinas, from a Spanish word meaning “spear.”

    More in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals.

  13. Our Moose diorama has officially been remixed!

    Thanks to everyone who submitted their amazing artwork, with special shoutouts to our featured artists: ultimate-journey, nemozerore—ignite.tumblr.com

    Stay tuned for another Diorama Remix! 

  14. "Early June" from the display Seasons on the Farm, located in the Felix M. Warburg Hall of New York State Environment. 

    "Early June" from the display Seasons on the Farm, located in the Felix M. Warburg Hall of New York State Environment. 

  15. The photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto has visited the Museum four times in the past four decades to shoot his “Dioramas” series, which focuses on habitat displays to explore the distinction between the real and the fictive. 

    "I have my ideas and visions of what nature should look like. So I’m using this diorama to represent my idealistic visions of nature." 

    The first photographs from the “Dioramas” series, shot in 1976, brought Sugimoto to acclaim. “Dioramas” continues to gain an audience today with recent exhibitions at the thegetty in Los Angeles and the pacegallery in New York.