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An Up-Close Look Behind the Glass of… Dioramas

Dan McKay
flickr creative commons

When I hear the word "diorama," the first thing I think of is Mr. Mack’s fifth grade class and painting hills and grass and clouds and a fence into a shoebox and making little cardboard cut outs of Lassie and the boy she loved. God, I hated that stuff.

The second thing I think of is a place like the Peabody Museum in New Haven and their incredibly, obsessively, over-the-toply detailed dioramas of the plant and wildlife of Connecticut.

But that’s not all there is to dioramas.

There are 70-year-old dioramas that are used for forensics training. There are brand new, futuristic, post-apocalyptic dioramas that are photographed and then disposed of.

There’s a funeral home that builds full-sized dioramas for their wakes. There’s The Washington Post’s annual Peeps Diorama Contest for Easter.

This hour, we take an up-close look at all the newest diorama technology, all the newest new diorama news, all the controversy in the world of dioramas.


  • Michael Anderson – Preparator at Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History
  • Bruce Goldfarb – Executive Assistant to the Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Maryland
  • Emily Graslie – Chief Curiosity Correspondent at The Field Museum and writer and host of The Brain Scoop
  • Lori NixPhotographer and sculptor

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.

Jonathan is a producer for ‘The Colin McEnroe Show.’ His work has been heard nationally on NPR and locally on Connecticut Public’s talk shows and news magazines. He’s as likely to host a podcast on minor league baseball as he is to cover a presidential debate almost by accident.
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