How the American Museum of Natural History is Restoring its Dioramas

Erin McCarthy

Founded in 1869, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City is home to some of the most beautiful—and most accurate—dioramas in the world. The museum is currently in the final stages of a renovation of the Hall of North American Mammals, which opened in 1942.

Over the past year Stephen C. Quinn, senior project manager in the Museum’s Department of Exhibition, and a team of conservationists, taxidermists and artists have been painstakingly restoring the hall’s dioramas, many of which feature scenes from the National Parks which museum co-founder Theodore Roosevelt helped create. To mark their progress, AMNH is releasing videos that show not only how the dioramas were originally created, but how Quinn and his team are sprucing up them up: re-coloring faded fur, dusting off delicate leaves, and touching up the background paintings.

The Hall of North American Mammals will reopen October 26.