The Joy of Dioramas

My attempts at making dioramas have never gone very well, so I’ve relegated myself to being the diorama fan and appreciator. Maine has some wonderful dioramas. The State House has several created by  Klir Beck. The Maine State Museum is filled with them!  LC Bates Museum has wonderful dioramas in their bird collection room with backgrounds created by Charles Hubbard.  In Searsport at the Penobscot Marine Museum you can see one. And, the one I love to visit is at the Dresden Historical Society. It’s of the Kennebec River at Dresden and shows the ice houses which were major commercial enterprises at the end of the 19th century.

Detail of one of the Ice Houses on the Kennebec River Diorama
Detail of one of the Ice Houses on the Kennebec River Diorama

I was able to find a quick history of the Diorama at the Diorama Guy website. It seems they have been around in Japan since the 6th century. In recent times they were prevalent in the 19th century. And today gamers and model train enthusiasts have perfected the craft

Maine Artist Lydia Badger works in the medium

Whenever I get to the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, I always make my way to the Opera maquette section to stare at their diorama collection.  Paris Opera Maquette

And don’t forget places like Salem, Massachusetts. I didn’t get to see everything when I was there;  I hear there are dioramas in the Witch Museum and the House of Seven Gables. I did get to see the beautiful one at the Salem Visitors Center

Detail of the Diorama at Salem Massachusetts Visitors Center
Detail of the Diorama at Salem Massachusetts Visitors Center

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