How the American Museum of Natural History is Restoring its Dioramas

Founded in 1869, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City is home to some of the most beautiful—and most accurate—dioramas in the world. The museum is currently in the final stages of a renovation of the Hall of North American Mammals, which opened in 1942.

Over the past year Stephen C. Quinn, senior project manager in the Museum’s Department of Exhibition, and a team of conservationists, taxidermists and artists have been painstakingly restoring the hall’s dioramas, many of which feature scenes from the National Parks which museum co-founder Theodore Roosevelt helped create. To mark their progress, AMNH is releasing videos that show not only how the dioramas were originally created, but how Quinn and his team are sprucing up them up: re-coloring faded fur, dusting off delicate leaves, and touching up the background paintings.

The Hall of North American Mammals will reopen October 26.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
The Simple Way to Reheat Your French Fries and Not Have Them Turn Into a Soggy Mess
iStock
iStock

Some restaurant dishes are made to be doggy-bagged and reheated in the microwave the next day. Not French fries: The more crispy and delectable they are when they first arrive on your table, the more of a soggy disappointment they’ll be when you try to revive them at home. But as The Kitchn recently shared, there’s a secret to making leftover fries you’ll actually enjoy eating.

The key is to avoid the microwave altogether. Much of the appeal of fries comes from their crunchy, golden-brown exterior and their creamy potato center. This texture contrast is achieved by deep-frying, and all it takes is a few rotations around a microwave to melt it away. As the fries heat up, they create moisture, transforming all those lovely crispy parts into a flabby mess.

If you want your fries to maintain their crunch, you need to recreate the conditions they were cooked in initially. Set a large pan filled with about 2 tablespoons of oil for every 1 cup of fries you want to cook over medium-high heat. When you see the oil start to shimmer, add the fries in a single layer. After about a minute, flip them over and allow them to cook for half a minute to a minute longer.

By heating up fries with oil in a skillet, you produce something called the Maillard Reaction: This happens when high heat transforms proteins and sugars in food, creating the browning effect that gives fried foods their sought-after color, texture, and taste.

After your fries are nice and crisp, pull them out of the pan with tongs or a spatula, set them on a paper towel to absorb excess oil, and sprinkle them with salt. Now all you need is a perfect burger to feel like you’re eating a restaurant-quality meal at home.

[h/t The Kitchn]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
Bone Collector
iStock
iStock

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios