Polar Bear Educational Diorama

Polar Bear Educational Diorama (opened)
Polar Bear Educational Diorama with card
Polar Bear Educational Diorama (closed)
Polar Bear Educational Diorama with lid and card

In the middle of the 20th century, the AMNH began producing miniature traveling dioramas that were loaned out to schools in the region. This effort was part of a long tradition of the Museum’s Education Department involving lending instructional material, specimens, and artifacts for classroom use, along with educational literature teachers could use as a basis for instruction/discussion.

The circulation of collections to schools was a robust effort at the Museum for most of the 20th century. This lending also included sets of lantern slides and scripts for projection in educational settings and simple glass fronted boxed with mounted, taxidermied specimens inside. Earlier distribution efforts featured dedicated delivery vehicles that brought loans of specimens and artifacts directly to schools.

Miniature dioramas and specimen display cases ranged in size and included models of dioramas such at this diorama of polar bears. Produced by the Education Department, this sturdy model diorama was of a novel design. The heavy wood outer box protected the contents and glass panels. The front and top panels slid off to allow light to illuminate the diorama landscape. An essay on polar bears—replete with bibliography—was mounted on the inside of the front cover. The text included a reference to the Museum’s Polar Bear Diorama in the Hall of Ocean Life, though the composition of the actual diorama and miniature dioramas were not identical.

Written by AMNH Staff

Museum Educator Carlton Beil inspecting loading of school service truck

Museum Educator Carlton Beil inspecting the loading of a school service truck, November, 1950. Photo by Alex J. Rota.

Museum automobile for delivery of School Collections

Museum automobile for delivery of School Collections, June 2, 1908. Photo by Thomas Lunt.

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