Interpretive Dioramas as Material Culture of Natural History Museums: A Case Study at the National Museum of Natural History

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Master's thesis focuses on the North American mammal dioramas at the National Museum of Natural History, created during the Exhibits Modernization Program, as an example of exhibits as historical artifacts. The dioramas are studied as material culture of the museum, artifacts of the past, and agents of change. Rossilli also argues that the dioramas reflect changing approaches to exhibit design and exhibit authority in museums.


  • Taxidermist (USNM)
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.)
  • Mammals Exhibit Hall (NHB)
  • Exhibits Modernization Program United States National Museum


Smithsonian History Bibliography


  • Master's thesis
  • Rossilli was an exhibits designer at the National Museum of American History.

Contained within

(Master's thesis)

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,




  • Taxidermy
  • Design
  • Animals
  • Taxidermists
  • Exhibitions
  • Museums
  • Mammals
  • Dioramas
  • Museum techniques
  • Museum exhibits--Design


North America

Physical description

Number of pages: 125; Page numbers: i-116

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