Among its many oddities—beer, the Bronze Fonz, Bob Uecker—Milwaukee is home to the world’s first museum diorama. In 1890, Carl Akeley, a.k.a. the “father of modern taxidermy,” created a muskrat colony diorama for the then-young Milwaukee Public Museum. The exhibit still stands today, just one of dozens of meticulously crafted, delightfully retro miniature models in the museum’s permanent collection.
Inspired in part by this strange claim to fame, Danelle “D” Kirschling founded National Diorama Month, an only-slightly tongue-in-cheek celebration of the crafty and adorable art form. In 2016, it she took things one step further by hosting the first Diorama-Rama at Blackbird Bar, with another one taking place at Anodyne’s Walker’s Point Roastery in 2019. A 2020 iteration with the now-somewhat-ironic “20/20: A Look to the Future!” theme was supposed to take place at Lakefront Brewery on March 31 of that year. Of course, it did not.
However, more than three years after the cancellation of the event, Milwaukee will finally see the glorious return of the knock-down, drag-out Diorama-Rama competition. The 2023 edition will take place at Amorphic Beer on Tuesday, April 25. This year’s theme? “Public Spaces/Friendly Faces-Scenes From a Missed-Out Life.” What does that mean?
“We’ve all been under a lot of stress these past few years. You’ve probably spent a lot of time in the house, right? Let’s reflect on these days gone by and recreate in miniature our favorite places and activities we’ve missed out on since 2020. Did you get a dog? Bake some bread? Take a knitting class? Move your desk into your bedroom? Where you been, whatcha been up to? Build the places you’ve lived in, the places you missed, the places you dreamt of going to!”
If you’d like to take part in the 2023 Diorama-rama, email [email protected] or message National Diorama Month on Facebook. Don’t want to participate, but you still want to see some cool Dioramas in a brewery? Well, get your ass to Amorphic Beer at 7 p.m. on April 25 to enjoy this unique and FREE event.