The Bell Museum is home to internationally-renowned natural history dioramas. They have a long legacy and will be a key, and vibrant part of the new Bell Museum facility.
What is a diorama?
It's a three-dimensional model representing a scene frozen in time. Dioramas show the ecological interactions of animals and their habitats, serving as portals to experiences that bring people closer to the natural world. Those at the Bell are among the best examples of museum displays that do this, and they help us serve young and old alike as they seek to find—and better understand and appreciate—their own place in a living, changing world. Read about Museum Director Susan Weller's first visit to the Bell dioramas.
Francis Lee Jaques grew up in Minnesota and eventually began to pursue his passion for painting and illustrating nature. His work has appeared in numerous books and a rich collection of dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the Bell Museum. At the Bell, Jaques completed backgrounds on nine of the large dioramas and ten of the medium-size dioramas.
Through his art, Jaques communicated a deep understanding and appreciation of nature to millions of people. His distinctive artistic style and ecological insight make his work unmatched by any other artist.
Jaques passed away in 1969 and is considered one of the greatest wildlife artists and diorama artists of the 20th Century.
Learn more in his biography, or visit the Jaques Art Center in Aitkin, Minnesota.