Bison Diorama Restoration Project
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Scarlet Globemallow

June 6, 2018

This diorama has more to be done than I thought. Once inside the diorama, I found some unusual additions to the foreground. They looked like small, wadded-up pieces of brown paper with orange paint daubed on them. I thought they might be leftover trash from the 1950s until I noticed there were flecks of orange paint in the background painting. No mention of any orange plant in the label. So, once again, I asked Patrick Sweeney if he thought there might be a flower in the Wyoming prairies in June. He came right back to me and told me that he thinks the Scarlet Globemallow, a member of the hibiscus family, would be common in these areas and serves as excellent forage for species like Bison.
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Latin name: Sphaeralcea coccinea

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Indications of Scarlet Globemallow painted in the background at the feet of the Bison

I then talked with Collin this morning about trying to make 3 to 4 flowering globemallow plants to replace the orange painted paper wads. We have some time to work on this because the recoloring of the Bison will be done in the next couple of weeks and the grass won't be arriving until mid-July. Patrick Sweeney is away from the museum this week and I am anxious to start, so I went online to see what I could find. I was able to find a schematic drawing and a couple of photos of herbarium specimens:

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The plants are small and we will be creating ones at the smaller end of the scale, about 4-6" in height. The flowers are smaller than a quarter in diameter and the leaves are about 3/4" in length. The scale will be challenging for all aspects of sculpting, moldmaking, and casting. We now have the method for making translucent flower petals and leaves and we will adapt that to the smaller castings using colored lighting gels embedded in hot-melt glue. Finally, all the leaves and plant stems are covered with hair that we will try to reproduce with flock.

Devices

 



Taken from the following blog: Museum Model Making at Yale Peabody