Enter North America: a continent of contrasts, with mammals in every realm. Some are adapted to forests, some to deserts, and others to icy peaks.
Through the dioramas in the Jill and Lewis Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, you can explore North America’s chief environments and encounter some of its remarkable residents face to face. Each of the dioramas shows an actual place on the continent, at one moment in time, with plants and animals you’d see there. The hall, which first opened in 1942, features mammal species ranging from the Alaska brown bear to the jaguar, and its dioramas are widely considered the finest in the world.
Many of the places depicted in these scenes are protected as refuges for wildlife, a legacy of Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency in the early 1900s. Even now, those places still largely resemble their depiction in the dioramas—a tribute to that conservation effort. Several of the dioramas re-create scenes from national parks Roosevelt signed into being or national monuments he declared, including Crater Lake National Park, Grand Canyon National Park (which Roosevelt set aside as Grand Canyon National Monument), and Devils Tower National Monument, among others.
The American Museum of Natural History in New York City is one of the world’s preeminent scientific, educational, and cultural institutions, drawing millions of visitors each year. Visit amnh.org for more information.
Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) and Antelope Jackrabbit (Lepus alleni). June at Noon, Near Tucson, Arizona
Jaguar (Panthera onca). October at Sunset, Sonora, Mexico
Canada Lynx (Lynx canadensis) and Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus). Late October, Quebec, Canada
Dall Sheep (Ovis dalli). August at Midnight, Denali National Park, Alaska
Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos). September Morning, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Alaskan Moose (Alces alces). Fall, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
Caribou (Rangifer tarandus). September, Alaska Peninsula
Alaska Brown Bear (Ursus arctos). Canoe Bay, Alaska Peninsula
Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus). October, Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming
American Bison (Bison bison). October Afternoon, Mid-1800s, Wyoming
Musk Ox (Ovibos moschatus). Summer, Ellesmere Island, Canada
Caribou (Rangifer tarandus). September, Level Mountain, British Columbia, Canada
White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus). October Morning, Bear Mountain State Park, Southern New York
Spotted Skunk (Spilogale gracilis) and Ringtail Cat (Bassariscus astutus). June at Sunset, New Mexico
Wolf (Canis lupus). December at Midnight, Gunflint Lake, Superior National Forest, Northern Minnesota
Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus). October, Ithaca, New York
Black Bear (Ursus americanus). December Morning, Near Lake Placid, Southern Florida
Mountain Goat (Oreamnos americanus). August, Tongass National Forest, Southern Alaska
Cougar (Mountain Lion) (Puma concolor). Summer, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
American Marten (Martes americana). July Morning, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
Coyote (Canis latrans). June, Yosemite Valley, California
American Badger (Taxidea taxus). July Morning, Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole, Wyoming