I remember when I first saw the trailer for Night at the Museum, and I was so excited for the movie because it had long been a fantasy of mine to be in NYC’s Museum of Natural History after closing time to see if all of those animals in the nature dioramas might come to life. Just being serious.
I like to visit the Natural History Museum on Central Park West a few times a year to see the special, temporary exhibits, but I also try to spend time when I am there at my favorite installations which are the Hall of Ocean Life and the recently-renovated Hall of Gems and Minerals, where I could lose myself for hours.
On a recent trip however, Geoffrey and I decided to spend a couple of hours really exploring the Mammal Halls – including animals from North America, Africa and Asia displayed in painstakingly recreated lifelike dioramas of their natural habitats – which is generally a section of the museum we end up racing through on our way to somewhere else. Although these dioramas undergo regular maintenance and periodic restorations, they are essentially unchanged in 50 years and the stories they tell are eternal.
I really love the mammal halls because they are kept mostly in darkness, where the only lights come from inside the dioramas. This makes them somewhat challenging to photograph but gives the exhibits a timeless sense of romance and adventure.
You can read a bit of the background on how these dioramas were created at This Link. But for now, let’s see more pictures.
The Giraffes and Zebras above are actually two halves of the same large Diorama.
These photos represent just a tiny fraction of the all the animals and exhibits we saw. It was such a fun day! You should go and have your own adventure!
The American Museum of Natural History is located on Central Park West Between 79th and 83rd Streets on NYC’s Upper West Side. Take the C train to the 83rd Street Stop.