Bell Museum of Natural History

Resident Artist Research Project

As part of the Bell Museum‘s Resident Artist Research Project Program, I spent 4 months exploring the laboratories, storage facilities, the historic museum, and it’s extraordinary dioramas. The following projects were a result of interfacing with these spaces, using the site as a springboard for a variety of works.


Bell Museum of Natural History at The University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 2014


Photographs courtesy of Eric Melzer

The Bell Museum has an incredible collection of nearly 20 Francis Lee Jaques diorama large scale background paintings. Jaques was serious about his work, and there is some debate among scholars about whether or not he intentionally hid things in his paintings. In a northern Minnesota waterfall scene, there appears to be a gnome hidden in the painting. A consortium of gnomes has gathered in front of this diorama to raise awareness, as they feel it was an intentional gesture by Jaques.

In one of the side diorama halls, there is a magic crane game installed, with prizes of taxidermied gophers. Unfortunately, the game is temporarily out of order.

A regional interpretive station, showcasing MN waterfowl, including the elusive Grey Duck.

Throughout the museum, there were drawings installed along the baseboards next to the floor. The drawings were depictions of curators and staff offices, the research collections, storage rooms, and various other scenes that are beyond what is generally open to the public.

Visitors were tempted by snacks and beverages at various points throughout the museum.