The Diorama Dilemma: A Literature Review and Analysis (2009)

November 25th, 2009 | RESEARCH

The value of dioramas has been hotly debated within many institutions. Are they still relevant as museum exhibitions? Can they deeply engage a diverse public in this digital age? Some museum professionals regard dioramas as “boring” and “static,” while visitors have called them “creepy” displays of “dead animals.” Yet many more professionals and visitors alike describe dioramas as “evocative,” “beautiful” and “powerful” fusions of art and science (Wonders, 1989; Quinn, 2006; Yanni, 2008; Benton, 2009). Since dioramas occupy significant square footage in many natural science museum galleries, the question is thus raised: should museums dismantle them, maintain them for the sake of nostalgia, or re-purpose them for contemporary audiences?



Team Members

Marjorie Schwarzer, Author, Oakland Museum of California
Mary Jo Sutton, Author, The Oakland Museum of California

Related URLs

Hotspot California: Bringing Dioramas to Life Through Community Voices


Audience: General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM | Life science
Resource Type: Literature Review | Research Products
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits