Different form altogether from the diorama exhibit form typically found in natural history or history museums.

First diorama opened on 11 July 1822 at 4 rue Sanson (now rue de la Douane, behind the Place de la République) by Louis-Jaques-Mandé Daguerre and Charles-Marie Bouton.

  • slightly curved canvas 22 x 14 meters
  • canvas was 15 meters away from audience, behind a 7 x 4 meter window to conceal machinery and lighting
  • show lasted fifteen minutes
  • canvas made of fine oiled calico
  • gradual changes in lighting make landscape appear at night and then day
  • 350-person audience in a hall that could be fully rotated by one man
  • shows included The Valley of Sarnen, Inside Trinity Chapel, Cantebury, The Alps, The Great Flood, and Milton's Paradise Lost, and the always popular hell show.
  • Daguerre made continual improvements to the diorama system until 1839 when the rotunda burned down

C.W. Gropius opened a diorama in a large rotunda in Berlin in 1827 that included three scenes simultaneously: the interior of the church of Baccarach, a view of Genoa, the glacier at Grindewald. The place continued until 1850, with 26 dioramas.

After the rue Sanson rotunda hall burned down, Charles-Marie Bouton built one on the Boulvard Bonne-Nouvelle in 1843. Presented a critically-acclaimed Great Flood diorama. Burned down in 1848.

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