“Sinclair Dinosaur Exhibit” Diorama





This approximately 4′ x 8′ diorama had been tucked away in storage up in the rafters of the Chicago Academy of Science since 1934, following the closing of the 1933-4 Chicago World’s Fair, “A Century of Progress.” The diorama is a miniature version of the outdoor “Sinclair Dinosaur Exhibit,” which had been a popular (and free-admission) attraction at the Fair. The diorama was made of plaster and comprised, as I recall, four component pieces that fit together like a  jigsaw puzzle.

I believe this diorama was displayed inside the grotto that was part of the exhibit.

During the 1980s, personnel at the Academy showed me the diorama and asked if  I’d like to have it. As far as they were concerned it was taking up valuable storage space. You can guess what my answer was. They told me that for many years they’d offered the diorama to the Chicago Historical Society (now the Chicgo History Museum), located just down the street, and that the Society had turned it down. But the Academy felt that it was their duty to offer it one more time to the Society before turning it over to me. They did … and this time, perhaps not surprisingly, the Society accepted.

Oh, how I wanted to display that diorama inside my home! I’d even decided on a place to put it! (Below, a souvenir postcard from the Fair with artwork suggesting the diorama, showing the placment of the life-sized figures at the actual exhibit.)

Sinclair dinosaurs postcard