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Department of Biology

The Shaw Habitat Collection: Diorama Collection

Construction of the dioramas began in 1934 as a National Heritage Habitat Groups Project that was funded in part by the Works Projects Administration.  Dr. William T. Shaw, for whom the collection is named, was the project’s technical director and taxidermist coupled with the efforts of members of the then Fresno State Department of Agriculture and Biology Department including Dr. George Graves and Dr. A. E. Culbertson, among others.  The dioramas artwork was completed by Mrs. G. Reed and Mr. L. C. Pheley to develop each diorama’s illusion of depth.  The Shaw Habitat dioramas location of the first and second floors of the Science 1 building represent sixteen biotic communities typically found along a transect between Monterey, CA and Bishop CA (see image below).  Each diorama provides information about the general location of each scene including the major plants and animal species.  In addition to the diorama cases there are a series of cases illustrating birds, fish and mammals common to California. This facility is open year-round; please call the Department of Biology office at 559-278-2001 for further information.

Dioramas in the First Floor:  1.  Monterey Peninsula;  2.  Elkhorn Slough;  3.  Santa Cruz Redwoods;  4.  Mustang Pass;  5.  Panoche Hills;  6.  Los Banos Overflow. 

Dioramas in the Second Floor:  7.  Kerman Alkali Flats;  8.  Fresno;  9.  Old Fort Miller; 10. Table Mountain; 11. McKinley Grove; 12. Huntington Lake; 13. Kaiser Pass Meadows; 14. Tioga Pass; 15. Lee Vining Canyon; and 16. Upper Owens Valley.

Diorama's location