This diorama opened in 1976, and is also known as the Culinary Herb Diorama and today as a Kitchen Garden of Herbs. It was planned and conceived by Dorothy Pearth, and was sponsored in part by the Western Pennsylvania Unit of the Herb Society of America. The background was painted by Nancy Perkins, and the plants were created by Elizabeth Niedringhaus with the help of her team of volunteers. It depicts a time in May or June.
This group opened in 1973, and is also known as the Pennsylvania Hardwood Forest Group, and today is labeled as the Tionesta Scenic and Research Area. The plants were created by Elizabeth Niedringhaus and her team of volunteers, and the background was painted by Daniel Riccobon. It was sponsored by the Pittsburgh Garden Center and over one hundred of its affiliated garden clubs, and an anonymous donor sponsored the background. By this time, Dorothy Pearth had taken over as Associate Curator, although Henry participated in the planning for this diorama as Curator Emeritus. The group is based on an expedition to the Tionesta Tract that took place in 1972, and was again part of Jennings’ original vision, as a special example of a climax forest.
This diorama opened in 1966 and is also known as the Lake Erie or Lake Erie Beach plant group. It was created by the von Fuehrers in collaboration with Elizabeth Niedringhaus, who joined the museum in 1963. It was sponsored by the Pittsburgh Garden Center. This group was created under the leadership of Leroy K. Henry, who had succeeded Jennings as curator in 1947, and Dorothy Pearth, who was his assistant at this time. However, the idea to do Presque Isle was originally suggested by Jennings because it is a unique example of ecological succession.
This diorama was completed in 1934 and is also known as the Pennsylvania Bog Group. It represents a bog in Warren County in Northern Pennsylvania in October. It was created by Ottmar and Hanne von Fuehrer. This group was also spearheaded by Otto Jennings. This and the subsequent dioramas he hoped for were chosen because they showed some kind of unique environment, in this case a quaking bog created by an ancient glacier. They also are all in Pennsylvania.
This group opened in 1933. It is also known as the Mount Rainier Group, and according to older labeling was based on museum expeditions in 1931 and 1932. It depicts Paradise Valley and Mount Rainier on Washington State in early August, during the short period when these plants bloom. The background and plants were created by Ottmar and Hanne von Fuehrer. This group rounded out the group of four that anchor the hall, demonstrating the result of low levels of heat and low, but sufficient, levels of moisture.
This group was completed in 1931, and is also known as the Tropical Group or the Florida Everglades. The background and plants were created by Ottmar and Hanne von Fuehrer, and represent an area just south of Miami in May. This group was based on an expedition conducted in 1929. This group was the third of the initial set planned by Otto Jennings, representing high levels of both heat and moisture.
This group opened in 1929, and is also known as the Arizona Cactus Desert. It depicts the Sonoran Desert in Southern Arizona (“a few miles south of Tucson with the Santa Catalina Mountains in the distance” and based on an expedition in 1927, according to an early label). The background and plants were made by Ottmar and Hanne von Fuehrer, assisted by Carl Beato. One of Jennings’ original grouping of four, this group exemplifies lots of heat but little moisture.
This group was completed in 1928, and is also known as the Pennsylvania Spring Flower Group, Pennsylvania Wildflower Group, Local Flora Group, Laurel Group, and today identified as the Laurel Highlands. It was created by Ottmar and Hanne Von Fuehrer, and was sponsored by the Garden Club of Allegheny County. It was designed to show the plants of the Laurel Valley in Southwestern Pennsylvania as they may appear around May 1st. This was the first diorama conceived by the CMNH’s first Curator of Botany, Otto Jennings. It was one of a group of four that he envisioned anchoring the Hall of Botany and demonstrating the effects of heat and moisture. This group shows the results of moderate levels of both.