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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 >

Do Dolphins Have Hair?

Our mammal researchers answer this and other questions on our Mammalogy FAQs page.
Learn more >

The Art of Taxidermy. Yes, Art.

There are not many art forms more misunderstood than taxidermy. Perhaps the greatest misperception is its basic technique. Museum taxidermist Tim Bovard sculpts over an animal’s skeleton with clay, and from a mold of that clay sculpture, makes a lightweight mannequin (urethane foam today; burlap, plaster and papier-mâché in decades past), which he then pulls the skin over. It takes a sculptor's hands, and an expert eye for animal anatomy.


Steller sea lion

Eumetopias jubatus (Schreber, 1776)

Steller sea lion diorama in the North American Mammal Hall


 Año Nuevo Island (near Santa Cruz), California

Background artist:

 Charles Abel Corwin (1857-1938)

Also present:

 Western Gull (Larus occidentalis),
California Gull (Larus californicus),
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis),
Glaucus-winged-Gull (Larus glaucescens).

Also known as the northern sea lion, this is the largest of the eared seals. Males may reach 11 feet in length and weigh up to 2425 lbs; females are much smaller and only weigh 770 lbs.

The main predators of Steller sea lions are the killer whale (orca) and great white shark.

Biological Information

Range map for the steller sea lion


North Pacific Rim from Japan to southern California


Isolated offshore rocks and islands


Threatened east of 144°W; endangered west of 144° W


Fish, squid, octopus, shellfish

Further information about this species may be found on the Animal Diversity Web page for Steller sea lion.