The Art of the Diorama
J. Perry Wilson painting the Peabody’s Coastal Region diorama.

Grade Level: Grade 4 through High School
Language Arts Content Standards: 1.2; 1.4
Visual Arts Content Standard: 6) Students will make connections between the visual arts, other disciplines and daily life.

Description: This program discusses the creation of the Yale Peabody Museum’s dioramas, exceptional for their artistry as well as their science content. Students will learn about the painting, sculpture, taxidermy and mold-making techniques that were used to create these masterpieces of illusion. The dioramas were largely the work of James Perry Wilson, who honed his skills as a background painter for the American Museum of Natural History, and Ralph Morrill, who created the extraordinarily lively and life-like foregrounds of the dioramas. The class includes hands-on-specimens and a short film about the creation of the Timber Line diorama.


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