In April 2015, The Field Museum's science-based YouTube channel, The Brain Scoop, teamed up with museum fans from all over the world to fund the creation of the Museum's first new habitat diorama in over 60 years. Thanks to more than 1,500 contributors from across the globe, the six-week Indiegogo campaign raised enough money to move the Museum's striped hyenas from their previous location (in the Reptile Hall, of all places), to a brand new home in the Hall of Asian Mammals.
The hyenas, collected in 1896 and mounted in 1899 by Field Museum taxidermist Carl Akeley, were carefully conserved. Staff researched the hyenas' native habitat to ensure accuracy—from the landform, to the plants and other animals in the scene, to the pre-dawn sky. Every element was meticulously crafted for the new diorama. An interactive touchscreen label enables visitors to explore the diorama, its production, and the history behind the specimens.
Learn more about the diorama's creation:
- Watch Chief Curiosity Correspondent Emily Graslie kickoff the Indiegogo campaign
- Read updates and see photos shared with Indiegogo backers
- Hear about the diorama's painted background from staff artist Aaron Delehanty
- See the care involved as our Exhibitions team creates each of the smallest details for the hyenas' habitat—like aloe plants reminiscent of those Carl Akeley photographed on his 1896 expedition
- Find out more about our striped hyenas from Dr. Larry Heaney, Curator of Mammals