As a kid, I was never one for the dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History. I preferred the darkened precincts of the Hayden Planetarium, specifically the giant mechanical spider that was its Zeiss Mark VI
projector, a truly amazing contraption. But most of all I adored the extraordinary wildlife dioramas
, with their vivid painted backdrops and proud beasts from exotic locales, trophies hauled in by men with names that seemed as if they were pulled straight from the films of the brothers Marx.
The presentation dioramas at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, wonderful in their own right, make for an excellent comparison. The animals in Cambridge are presented in large glass cases, and are arranged by region and species. This is ostensibly a more scientific presentation, though it's hardly clinical. It's nice to have both options. After the jump, a few more shots from the AMNH.