The Museum’s 20 dioramas feature miniature wildlife, farm and prehistoric scenes of animals, birds, and other creatures carved from various gem materials. The figures in the dioramas were carved in Idar-Oberstein, Germany, a major European lapidary center. Many of the animals were carved from a solid block of stone while others are a composite of various stones.

The diorama scenes were put together with children in mind. Each seen depicts animals in a natural setting. The background scenes were painted by Elmhurst artist, David S. Burnside from 1970 to 1998.

This diorama below is a replica of Ziggy, the magnificent Asian bull elephant who lived at Brookfield Zoo until his death in 1976. The ivory tusks on our sheen obsidian Ziggy were carved from a piece of the real Ziggy’s broken tusk.