With Art & Industry: 1890-1920

Suggested Activities


A diorama is a model of a scene in miniature. It is constructed within a box. This box should be at least the size of a shoe box. Larger boxes are easier to work with.

  1. The box is painted or decorated inside to look like the background of your scene. For instance, woods would be painted with trees, sky, birds, etc., while an indoor scene may show wallpaper, pictures, a door, or window.
  2. The box is then painted on the outside or covered with construction paper, wallpaper, etc.
  3. Stand-up objects are placed inside the box to make your scene seem real. For example, if you were trying to make a model of a lumberjack camp, you would include a tent (perhaps made of construction paper), a fire (made from small sticks, glued in a pattern on the floor of your box), trees (perhaps small branches from trees outside your home, mounted on clay or glued to the bottom of your box), and then the lumberjack himself (perhaps drawn on white tagboard, colored, and cut out, or a model of a lumberjack made of some other materials), then mounted in your box so he won't fall out.
  4. Attach all standing objects to the diorama with glue so that when you carry it they will not fall out or move.

Your objective is to make your diorama as realistic as possible. Sometimes your diorama will be open, as for an outdoor scene; other times you may want to make clouds, a roof (for a house model), or a ceiling with a light fixture attached.

You have two weeks for this project. Do not start it at the last minute; this takes a long time to do correctly!

From: Elaine B. Jett's seminar, "Classroom Projects for Creative Learning Centers."


© Illinois State Museum 31-Dec-96