February 13, 2012

Fisher Museum

A diorama at the Fisher Museum depicting virgin forest. Each leaf and pine needle was individually applied
I was making some trees tonight with my brother and I mentioned to him the famous dioramas of the Fisher Museum of the Harvard Forest. He had not heard about it. From their web site,

The Harvard Forest is a department of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) of Harvard University. From a center comprised of 3,500 acres of land, research facilities, and the Fisher Museum, the scientists, students, and collaborators at the Forest explore topics ranging from conservation and environmental change to land-use history and the ways in which physical, biological and human systems interact to change our earth.

The Harvard Forest has revamped their website. While all of the links do not yet work, photos of some of the famous 24 dioramas can be viewed on-line at this site. The dioramas portray the history, conservation and management of a typical New England woods. The dioramas were built during the great depression by many skilled artisans literally one wire branch and leaf at a time. This might be the ultimate expression of model tree making ever.

The defunct magazine Rail Model Journal ran a series of articles about this museum. The Train Life web site has many of these scanned and available on line to read. For example check the link here for the  March 1991 issue.

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