Grandpa Makes a Scene

The Yenawine Dioramas

Now located at the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library.


After 43 years of enjoying Grandpa Makes a Scene: The Yenawine Dioramas here at the Carnegie Center, we are pleased to let you know you can now view them in their new, permanent home at the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library at 180 West Spring Street, located just three blocks away from the Carnegie Center. Library hours are Monday-Thursday, 9 AM-8:30 PM, Friday & Saturday 9 AM-5:30 PM, and Sunday 1-5 PM (Labor Day-Memorial Day only).

Merle was born in Georgetown, Indiana in 1887. He lived there until age 20 soaking up the memories and adventures he would later show in his dioramas. He did not have formal art training, but very early in life he found he liked to whittle. His talent grew with practice and soon he was an expert at carving figures.

As a boy, Merle dreamed of one day working on the railroad. So when he grew up, he became a fireman and engineer for the Southern Railway. He worked there for more than 40 years, retiring in 1953. Then he had more time to work on his dioramas.

The exhibit has hundreds of moving objects and shows more than 50 community, work, home and farm activities. Buildings are made of plywood and figures are carved from poplar and pine. Human figures are about two inches tall. Each one took Mr. Yenawine about 15 minutes to carve. Many of the human and animal figures are articulated and animated.