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The Making of a Diorama

The Habitat Views video considers ways of looking at dioramas today, and documents the creation of several new displays. Take a look over on our  YouTube channel >

Recreating Nature Indoors

Ever wonder who made the dioramas in our mammal halls? Read all about the artists who created these wonderful scenes. Learn more >

Museum Scientists on Evolution

The Natural History Museum, with its mission to inspire wonder, discovery, and responsibility, recognizes that evolutionary biology is fundamental to understanding biological diversity and is critical for both scientific research and museums. The Museum welcomes people of all beliefs and backgrounds to join us as we explore, through science, the wonders of the natural world.

To see our Evolution Statement in full, click here


Desert bighorn sheep

Ovis canadensis nelsoni (Merriam, 1897)

Desert bighorn sheep diorama in the North American Mammal Hall


 Death Valley National Monument, California

Although not as good at climbing as mountain goats, bighorn sheep zigzag up and down cliff faces with amazing ease. They can perch on ledges only 2 inches wide, and bounce from ledge to ledge over spans as wide as 20 feet. They can move over level ground at 30 miles per hour and scramble up mountain slopes at 15 mph. They also swim freely, despite their massive bulk and the weight of their horns.

Biological Information

Range map for the desert bighorn sheep


Southeastern California, east of Sierra Nevada


Desert mountains up to 4000 ft




Various desert plants, getting most of their water from the vegetation although still visiting water holes every several days

Further information about this species may be found on the Animal Diversity Web page for bighorn sheep.