Elephants in the Basement


Elephants in the Basement


  • 1982 - 2000
  • Elephants drinking
  • Forest diorama

When my son was small enough to be carried in my arms for the day, I started taking him to the museum. He soon had his favourites. We'd linger at the Nile crocodile, the Maiasaur, the little piece of forest floor in the middle of the beetles-and-butterflies room, the desert changing from day to night, the aye-aye. But my favourite was the diorama of the African rainforest. You'd peer into the dense tree tops and become aware of chimpanzees, insects, a big black squirrel. And through a gap in the branches, you'd look down, thirty metres as I recall, to a family of elephants at a waterhole. For the longest time, I had my son convinced that those elephants lived in the basement of the ROM, and just happened to be taking a drink every time we came by. The idea was a source of delight to us, as the ROM continues to be, many years on.

The Editor adds:
The coolest thing about this diorama is that the effect was created by a mirror in the case. The image had to be upside down so that the visitor would see what the first picture shows.