Royal Ontario Museum
||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (May 2013)|
|Royal Ontario Museum|
|Established||16 April 1912|
|Location||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Collection size||over 6,000,000|
|Public transit access||■ Museum station
■ ■ St. George station
■ Bay station
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is Canada's largest museum of world culture and natural history. It is located in Toronto, Ontario and is one of the largest museums in North America, attracting over one million visitors every year.[dead link] The museum is located north of Queen's Park in the University of Toronto, with its main entrance facing Bloor Street.
Founded in 1912, the museum has maintained close relations with the University of Toronto throughout its history, often sharing expertise and resources. The museum was originally under the direct control and management of the University of Toronto, until 1968, when it became an independent institution. Today, the museum is Canada's largest field-research institution, with research and conservation activities that span the globe.
With more than six million items and forty galleries, the museum's diverse collections of world culture and natural history are part of the reason for its international reputation. The museum contains notable collections of dinosaurs, minerals and meteorites, Near Eastern and African art, East Asian art, European history, and Canadian history. It also houses the world's largest collection of fossils from the Burgess Shale with more than 150,000 specimens. The museum even contains an extensive collection of design and fine arts. These include clothing, interior, and product design, especially Art Deco.
The Royal Ontario Museum was established on 16 April 1912, with the signing of the Ontario Legislature’s ROM Act. The Government of Ontario and the University of Toronto funded the construction and development of the museum. On 19 March 1914, at 3:00 pm, the Duke of Connaught, also the Governor General of Canada, officially opened the Royal Ontario Museum to the public. The museum’s location at the edge of Toronto's built-up area, far from the city's central business district, was selected mainly for its proximity to the University of Toronto. The original building was constructed on the western edge of the property along the university's Philosopher's Walk, with its main entrance facing out onto Bloor Street. This was the first phase of a two-part construction plan that intended on expanding the museum towards Queen's Park Crescent, ultimately creating a H-shaped structure. Many of the museum's artifacts at this time were transferred from its predecessor, the Museum of Natural History and Fine Arts at the Toronto Normal School.
The first expansion to the Royal Ontario Museum publicly opened on 12 October 1933. The renovation saw the construction of the south wing fronting onto Queen's Park, and required the demolition of Argyle House, a Victorian mansion once located at 100 Queen's Park. As this occurred during the Great Depression, an effort was made to primarily use local building materials and workers capable of manually excavating the building's foundations. Teams of workers alternated weeks of service due to the physically draining nature of the job.
On 26 October 1968, the ROM opened the McLaughlin Planetarium on the south-end of the property after receiving a $2 million donation from Colonel R. Samuel McLaughlin. By the 1980s, however, the planetarium’s audiences were dwindling, and the facility was forced to shut down in November 1995 due to budget cuts. The space temporarily reopened from 1998 to 2002 after being leased to Children's Own Museum. In 2009, the ROM sold the building to the University of Toronto for $22 million, and ensured that it would continue to be used for institutional, academic purposes.
The second major addition to the museum was the Queen Elizabeth II Terrace Galleries on the north side of the building, and a curatorial centre built on the south, which started in 1978, and was completed in 1984. The new construction meant that a former outdoor "Chinese Garden" to the north of the building facing Bloor, along with an adjoining indoor restaurant, had to be dismantled. Opened in 1984 by Queen Elizabeth II, a $55 million expansion took the form of layered volumes, each rising layer stepping back from Bloor Street, hence creating a layered terrace effect. The design of this expansion won a Governor General's Award in Architecture.
In 1989, activists complained about its Into the Heart of Africa exhibit, forcing the curator, Jeanne Cannizzo, to resign.
Beginning in 2002, the museum underwent a major renovation and expansion project dubbed as Renaissance ROM. The Provincial and Federal governments, both supporters of this venture, contributed $60 million towards the project. The campaign aimed to not only raise annual visitor attendance from 750,000 to between 1.3 and 1.6 million, but to generate additional funding opportunities to support the museum's research, conservation, galleries, and educational public programs as well. The centrepiece of the project, the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, was a major addition to the building's original framework. The structure was created by architect Daniel Libeskind, whose design was selected from among 50 finalists in an international competition. The design saw the Terrace Galleries torn down (curatorial centre to the south remains) and replaced with a Deconstructivist crystalline-form structure, named after Michael Lee-Chin who donated $30 million towards its construction. Existing galleries and buildings were also upgraded, along with the installation of multiple new exhibits over a period of months. The first phase of the Renaissance ROM project, the Ten Renovated Galleries in the Historic Buildings, opened to the public on 26 December 2005. The Architectural Opening for the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, however, took place years later on 2 June 2007. The final cost of the project was approximately C$270 million.
Buildings and architecture
Original building and eastern wing
Designed by Toronto architects Frank Darling and John A. Pearson, the architectural style of the original building is Italianate Neo-Romanesque, popular throughout North America until the 1870s. The structure is heavily massed and punctuated by rounded and segmented arched windows with heavy surrounds and hood mouldings. Other features include applied decorative eave brackets, quoins and cornices.
The eastern wing facing Queen's Park was designed by Alfred H. Chapman and James Oxley. Opened in 1933, it included the museum's elaborate art deco, Byzantine-inspired rotunda and a new main entrance. The linking wing and rear (west) façade of the Queen's Park wing were originally done in the same yellow brick as the 1914 building, with minor Italianate detailing. However, the Queen's Park facade of the expansion broke from the heavy Italianate style of the original structure. It was built in a neo-Byzantine style with rusticated stone, triple windows contained within recessed arches, and different-coloured stone arranged into a variety of patterns. This development from the Roman-inspired Italianate to a Byzantine influenced style reflected the historical development of Byzantine architecture from Roman architecture. Common among neo-Byzantine buildings in North America, the facade also contains elements of Gothic Revival in its relief carvings, gargoyles and statues. The ornate ceiling of the rotunda is covered predominantly in gold back-painted glass mosaic tiles, with coloured mosaic geometric patterns and images of real and mythical animals.
Writing in the Journal of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in 1933, A. S. Mathers said of the expansion: "The interior of the building is a surprise and a pleasant one; the somewhat complicated ornament of the façade is forgotten and a plan on the grand manner unfolds itself. It is simple, direct and big in scale. One is convinced that the early Beaux Arts training of the designer has not been in vain. The outstanding feature of the interior is the glass mosaic ceiling of the entrance rotunda. It is executed in colours and gold, and strikes a fine note in the one part of the building which the architect could decorate without conflicting with the exhibits."
The original building and the 1933 expansion have been listed as heritage buildings of Toronto since 1973. In 2005, a major renovation of the heritage wings saw the galleries made larger, windows uncovered, and the original early-20th-century architecture made more prominent. The exteriors of the heritage buildings were cleaned and restored. The restoration of the 1914 and 1933 buildings was the largest heritage project underway in Canada. The renovation also included the newly-restored Rotunda with reproductions of the original oak doors, a restored axial view from the Rotunda west through to windows onto Philosophers' Walk, and ten renovated galleries comprising a total of 90,000 square feet (8,000 m2).
In the master plan designed by Darling and Pearson in 1909, the ROM took a form similar to that of J.N.L. Durand's ideal model of the museum (published in the early 19th century). It was envisioned as a square plan with corridors running through the centre of the composition, converging in the middle with a domed rotunda. Overall, it referenced the upper-class palaces of the 17th and 18th centuries, and aimed at having a strong sense of monumentality. All the architectural elements—the deep cornice, decorative top, eave brackets—add to this strength that the ROM possessed, as it was purely a structure with the function of collecting, but not for exhibiting.
Designed by Toronto architect Gene Kinoshita, with Mathers & Haldenby, the curatorial centre forms the southern section of the museum. Completed in 1984, it was built during the same expansion as the former Queen Elizabeth II Terrace Galleries which stood on north side of the museum. The architecture is a simple modernist style of poured concrete, glass, and pre-cast concrete and aggregate panels.
The curatorial centre houses the museum's administrative and curatorial services, and provides storage for artifacts that are not on exhibit.
In 2006, the curatorial centre was renamed to Louise Hawley Stone Curatorial Centre in honor of the late Mrs. Louise Hawley Stone. Mrs. Stone devoted herself to the ROM throughout her life and she donated a number of artifacts and various collections to the museum. In her will, she transferred $49.7 million (Cdn) to the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust which was created to help with the upkeep of the building and to acquire new artifacts.
The new main entrance to the Royal Ontario Museum, Daniel Libeskind's The Crystal, first opened in 2007. The Deconstructivist crystalline-form is clad in 25 percent glass and 75 percent aluminium sitting on top of a steel frame. The Crystal's canted walls do not touch the sides of the existing heritage buildings, used to close the envelope between the new form and existing walls. These walls act as a pathway for pedestrians to safely travel across "The Crystal".
The building's design is similar to some of Libeskind's other works, notably the Jewish Museum in Berlin, the London Metropolitan University Graduate Centre, and the Fredric C. Hamilton Building at the Denver Art Museum. The steel framework was manufactured and assembled by Walters Inc. of Hamilton, Ontario. The extruded anodized aluminium cladding was fabricated by Josef Gartner in Germany; the only company in the world that can produce the material. The company also provided the titanium cladding for Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.
The overall aim of The Crystal is to provide openness and accessibility, seeking to blur the lines between the threshold linking the public area of the street and the more private area of the museum. The goal is to act as an open threshold where people, as well as artifacts, animate the space. The main lobby is a three-story high atrium, named the Hyacinth Gloria Chen Crystal Court. The lobby is overlooked by balconies and flanked by the J.P. Driscoll Family Stair of Wonders and the Spirit House, an interstitial space formed by the intersection of the east and west crystals, intended as a space of emotional and physical diversion.
On 1 June 2007, the Governor General, Michaëlle Jean, attended the Architectural Opening of the "Michael Lee-Chin Crystal". This caused controversy because the public opinion had been divided concerning the merits of its angular design. On its opening, Globe and Mail architecture critic Lisa Rochon complained that "the new ROM rages at the world," was oppressive, angsty, and hellish, while others (perhaps championed by the architecture critic at the competing Toronto Star, Christopher Hume) hailed it as a monument. Some critics have gone as far as ranking it as one of the ten ugliest buildings in the world. The project also experienced budget and construction time over-runs, and drew comparisons to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao for using so-called "starchitecture" to attract tourism.
In October 2007, the Lee-Chin Crystal was reported to have suffered from water leakage causing concerns due to the building's resilience to weather, especially in the face of the new structure's proximate first winter. Although a two-layer cladding system was incorporated into the design of the Crystal to prevent the formation of dangerous snow loads on the structure, past architectural creations of Daniel Libeskind, (including the Denver Art Museum) have suffered from weather-related complications.
Installation of the permanent galleries of the Lee-Chin Crystal began mid-June 2007, after a ten-day period when all the empty gallery spaces were open to the public. Within The Crystal, there is a gift shop, C5 restaurant lounge, a cafeteria, seven additional galleries and Canada’s largest temporary exhibition hall. The galleries added to the Crystal gave different aspects to the ROM; fascinating visuals, architectural artifacts and environment, art, correspondence between object and space, as well as stories within the visuals. The C5 restaurant Lounge is an award winning designs firm lI BY IV Design Associated Inc.
Originally, there were five major galleries at the ROM, one each for the fields of archaeology, geology, mineralogy, paleontology, and zoology. In general, the museum pieces were labelled and arranged in a static fashion that had changed little since Edwardian times. For example, the insects’ exhibit that lasted up until the 1970s, housed a variety of specimens from different parts of the world in long rows of glass cases. Insects of the same genus were pinned to the inside of the cabinet, with only the species name and location found as a description.
By the 1960s, more interpretive displays were ushered in, among the first being the original dinosaur gallery, established in the mid-1960s. Dinosaur fossils were now staged in dynamic poses against backdrop paintings and models of contemporaneous landscapes and vegetation. The displays became more descriptive and interpretive, sometimes, as with the extinction of the woolly mammoth, offering several different leading theories on the issue for the visitor to ponder. This trend continued, and up until the present time the galleries became less staid, and more dynamic or descriptive and interpretive. This trend arguably came to a culmination in the 1980s with the opening of The Bat Cave, where a sound system, strobe lights and gentle puffs of air attempts to re-create the experience of walking through a cave as a colony of bats fly out.
The original galleries were simply named after their subject material, but in more recent years, individual galleries have been named in honour of sponsors who have donated significant funds or collections to the institution. There are now two main categories of galleries present in the ROM: the Natural History Galleries and the World Culture Galleries.
Natural history galleries
The Natural history galleries are all gathered on the second floor of the museum. The gallery contains collections and samples of various animals such as bats, birds, and dinosaur bones and skeletons.
The Gallery of Birds has on display many bird specimens from past centuries. The Gallery of Birds is dominated by the broad “Birds in flight” display where stuffed birds are enclosed in a glass display for visitors to experience. Dioramas allow visitors to learn about the many bird species and how environmental and habitual changes have put other bird species in danger of extinction. Pull-out drawers let you examine more closely eggs, feathers, footprints and nests. The gallery included exhibits of other extinct species such as, the Passenger Pigeon. These were later moved to the Schad Gallery.
The Bat Cave, originally opened in 1998, is a realistic imitation of the St. Clair cave found in Jamaica. The cave design was based on the Royal Ontario Museums own fieldwork at the site. The gallery is filled with bats and other animals typically found in such caves including, spiders and snakes. It underwent renovations in February 2010, and opened later that month.
The Keenan Family Gallery of Hands-On Biodiversity introduces visitors to the many complicated relationships among all living things. Visitors often explore diverse environments exploring a wide range of plants and animals. The gallery also features the “living” displays, which feature, mossy frogs from the jungles of Vietnam, fish found in a typical southern Ontario stream, and bees flying in from outdoors in the gallery’s active beehive.
The Tallgrass Prairies and Savannas, is a featured dynamic display that features one of the most endangered and diverse habitats in Ontario. The display features examples of the regions and the efforts by the Ontario ministry of Natural Resources, to maintain and restore the tall grass prairies and savannas.
The Reed Gallery of the Age of Mammals explores the rise of mammals through the Cenozoic Era that followed the extinction of the dinosaurs. There are over 400 specimens from North America and South America on display. Also included in the gallery are, 30 fossil skeletons of extinct mammals, over 160 non-mammalian specimens, and hundreds of fossil plants, insects, fish, and turtles. The gallery's entrance begins with mammals that arose shortly after the extinction of the dinosaurs. A highlight of this gallery is the sabre-toothed nimravid Dinictis.
The James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs and Gallery of the Age of Mammals features many examples of complete dinosaur skeletons, as well as those of early birds, reptiles, mammals, and marine animals, ranging from the Jurassic to Cretaceous periods. The highlight of the exhibit is "Gordo", a recently rediscovered Barosaurus skeleton that is the largest dinosaur on display in Canada.
Designed by Reich+Petch and opened in late 2009, the Life in Crisis: Schad Gallery of Biodiversity features endangered species, including specimens of a polar bear, a giant panda, a white rhinoceros, a Burmese Python, Canadian coral, a leatherback sea turtle, a Coelacanth, a Rafflesia flower, and many other rare species. There are also recently extinct species displayed, including specimens of a Passenger Pigeon and Great Auk, as well as skeletons of a Dodo bird and a moa with a specimen of a moa egg, and many other recently extinct species. The gallery presents the need to protect the natural environment to educate the public about overhunting, habitat destruction, and climate change, which are main causes of extinction. In September, it received an Award of Excellence by the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario. The Schad Gallery of Biodiversity is not merely an exhibition gallery showcasing Earth’s wondrous specimens, but a lesson for the future care of the planet.
The gallery is organized into three zones exploring the central themes: Life is Diverse, Life is interconnected and Life is at Risk. “Interestingly, biodiversity is a relatively new term popularized in 1985 as a contraction of biological diversity” said Anthony Reich, Principal, at Reich+Petch. “It’s a big subject that’s become more relevant to everybody. The challenge was how to tell this big story in a 10,000 sq ft (900 m2) space. We decided to design a dynamic, immersive experience with three core themes that hopefully will make a lasting impression on visitors.”
World culture galleries
The World Culture galleries display a wide variety of objects from around the world. These range from Stone Age implements from China and Africa to 20th-century art and design. In July 2011, the museum added to this collection when a number of new permanent galleries were unveiled. Both the Government of Canada and the Royal Ontario Museum committed $2.75 million toward the project. The galleries are located on the first, third and fourth levels of the museum.
The first level of the museum contains galleries concerning Canadian, First Nation, Chinese, Korean and Japanese culture.
The Daphne Cockwell Gallery of Canada: First Peoples provides a look inside the culture of Canada's earliest societies, the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada. The gallery contains more than 1,000 artifacts that help to reveal the economic and social forces that have influenced Native art. There is also a rotating display of contemporary Native art, an area dedicated to the works of pioneer artist Paul Kane, and a theatre devoted to traditional storytelling. Just outside of this gallery, the central staircase winds around the Nisga'a and Haida Crest Poles of the Royal Ontario Museum, one of the museum's iconic objects.
Located on the Weston Family Wing, the Sigmund Samuel Gallery of Canada displays collections of early Canadian memorabilia. The majority of the collection is historical decorative and pictorial arts, but also includes a number of historical artifacts among other things. The gallery has approximately 560 artifacts on display and covers the period from early European settlement to the beginning of the modern industrial era. The displays are split up into sections to display the strength and weaknesses of the collections and strongly reflect the French and British cultural heritage of Canada.
The Chinese Galleries comprise four sections: the Bishop White Gallery of Chinese Temple Art, the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Gallery of China, the Matthews Family Court of Chinese Sculpture, and the ROM Gallery of Chinese Architecture.
The Bishop White Gallery of Chinese Temple Art has one of the most important collections of Chinese temple art in the world. The gallery contains three of the world's best-preserved temple wall paintings from the Yuan Dynasty (AD 1271–1386) and a number of wooden sculptures depicting various bodhisattvas from the 12th to 15th centuries.
The Matthews Family Court of Chinese Sculpture has a wide variety of sculptures that span 2,000 years of Chinese sculptural art. It also displays a number of smaller objects that explore the development of religions in China from the 3rd to 19th centuries AD.
The Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Gallery of China is home to one of the best Chinese collections outside of China. It consists of approximately 2,500 objects spanning almost 7,000 years of Chinese history. The gallery is divided into five sections: the T.T. Tsui Exhibit of Prehistory and Bronze Age; the Qin and Han Dynasties; the Michael C.K. Lo Exhibition of North, South, Sui and Tang; the Song, Yuan and Frontier Dynasties; and the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Each section focuses on a different period of Chinese history, displaying objects ranging from jade discs to pieces of furniture.
The ROM Gallery of Chinese Architecture houses one of the largest collection of Chinese architectural artifacts outside of China and is the first gallery of Chinese architecture in North America. The gallery holds some spectacular exhibits such as a reconstruction of an Imperial Palace building from Beijing's Forbidden City and a Ming-era tomb complex.
The Gallery of Korea is the only gallery of Korean art in all of Canada. With approximately 260 objects and artifacts, the gallery brings to life Korean and culture. Furniture, ceramics, metalwork, printing technology, painting and decorative arts, dating from the 3rd to 20th centuries AD, illustrate the many accomplishments to Korean culture.
Buddhism being a large part of the Korean culture was introduced to them through China and took hold on the general population. The influence of Buddhism on the Korean culture is portrayed with two statues. The first being a Sarira casket which originated in India, and were made to enshrine the remains of a Buddha or enlightened masters. The other statue is of a tomb guardian.
The Prince Takamado Gallery of Japan contains the largest collection of Japanese artworks in Canada, featuring a rotating display of ukiyo-e prints, and the only tea master's collection in North America. The gallery is split into a number of different sections, each home to the collection of objects that the name suggests: the Toyota Canada Inc. Exhibit of Ukiyo-e Pictures, the Sony Exhibit of Painting, the Canon Canada Inc. Samurai Exhibit, the Mitsui & Co. Canada Tea Ceremony Exhibit, the Maple Leaf Foods Exhibit of Lacquers, and the Linamar Corporation Exhibit of Ceramics. The gallery is named in honour of the late Japanese Prince Takamado, who spent several years at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.
The Eaton Gallery of Rome is home to a 1000 years of ancient Roman culture. It has the largest collection of classical antiquities in Canada, displaying more than 500 objects that range from marble or painted portraits of historical figures to magnificent Roman jewellery. The gallery also features the Bratty Exhibit of Etruria that sheds some light on the Etruscans, a neighbouring civilization.
The Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Gallery of Rome and the Near East depicts the lifestyle and culture of societies under Roman rule and influence in the Near East.
The Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Gallery of Byzantium covers the final years of Roman history, featuring displays of religious artifacts, pilgrimage art and Byzantine jewellery.
The Galleries of Africa: Nubia feature a collection of objects that explore the once flourishing civilization of Nubia. The Nubians were the first urban literary society in Africa south of the Sahara and were Egypt's main rival.
The A.G. Leventis Foundation Gallery of Ancient Cyprus houses roughly 300 artifacts, focusing on the art created in Cyprus between 2200–30 BC. The gallery is divided into five sections: Cyprus and Commerce, Ancient Cypriot Pottery Types, Sculptures, Ancient Cyprus at a Glance, and Art & Society: Interpretations. The collection includes a reconstructed open-air sanctuary and a rare bronze relief statue of a man carrying a large copper ingot.
The Shreyas and Mina Ajmera Gallery of Africa, the Americas and Asia-Pacific features a collection of 1,400 artifacts that reflect the artistic and cultural traditions of the indigenous peoples from four different geographical areas: Africa, the American continents, the Asia-Pacific region and Oceania. On display are objects such as ceremonial masks, ceramics, and even a shrunken head!
The Gallery of Africa: Egypt focuses on the life (and the afterlife) of Ancient Egyptians. It includes a wide range of artifacts, ranging from agricultural implements, jewelry, cosmetics, funerary furnishings and more. The exhibit includes a number of mummy cases, including the fine gilded and painted coffin of Djedmaatesankh, who was a female musician at the temple of Amun-Re in Thebes, and the mummy of Antjau, who is thought to have been a wealthy landowner.
The Sir Christopher Ondaatje South Asian Gallery holds a diverse collection of objects such as decorative art, armour and sculptures that represents the culture of South Asia. The gallery has approximately 350 objects that represent over 5,000 years of history. Due to the wide range of history and cultures on display, the gallery is split into numerous different sections. These are: the Material Remains, Imagining the Buddha, Visualizing Divinity, Passage to Enlightenment, Courtly Culture, Cultural Exchange, Home and the World. In this gallery you can find one of the ROM's Iconic Objects, the (Untitled) Blue Lady (Sculpture) by Navjot Altaf, listed as one of the museum's "must see" objects.
The gallery shares a rotating exhibition space with the Wirth Gallery of the Middle East which explores the civilizations in the Fertile Crescent and beyond, and their contributions to both eastern and western civilization.
The Gallery of the Bronze Age Aegean features over 100 objects that include examples from the Cycladic, Minoan, Mycenaean and Geometric periods of Ancient Greece. The collection ranges in age from 3200 – 700 BC and contains a variety of objects that include a marble head of a female figure and a glass necklace.
The Gallery of Greece has a collection of 1,500 artifacts that span the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods. This time span witnessed the bit of Western art. The collection consists of items such as sculptures of deities, armour, and a coin collection.
The Samuel European Galleries have some of the ROM's most popular and well-known collections. It primarily features decorative art, but also contains other items like ceramics, glass, and armour. The collection shows the evolution of style from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.
The Patricia Harris Gallery of Costumes and Textiles, opened in April 2008, features a broad range of garments and fabrics, including examples from the Chinese imperial court, 18th century European fashions, ancient Egyptian textiles, along with samples of Canadian needlepoint and quilts (as well as Native American and early Canadian artifacts). The costume collection also includes a gown owned by Marie Antoinette, as well as many pieces throughout history, notably the early 20th century, from the House of Dior, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Jeanne Lanvin, and Pierre Balmain, among others.
The Gallery of 20th Century Design features many movements in design from Art Deco, to Bauhaus, to modernism, etc. It includes many artifacts of sculpture, furniture and product design. There is also a gallery devoted to historic interiors dating back to the 11th century.
Other world culture galleries include the Herman Herzog Levy Gallery and the Samuel Hall-Currelly Gallery.
Designed in three main areas – In the Earth, Around the World and Close to home – the CIBC Discovery Gallery engages visitors of all ages to learn about the world around them. The space is filled with real specimens and touchable artifacts. The gallery also includes a section for pre-schoolers, with puzzles, toys and costumes to try on. In the Earth section of the gallery, many of the Museum’s natural history collections are held. Visitors are educated on the structure of our solar system’s oldest rocks. Also they can learn to distinguish earth-originated rocks from meteorites. 505-million-year-old fossils of animals discovered by the ROM are easily examined by visitors. Also included in the gallery is an interactive section where visitors can touch a Hadrosaur leg bone and dig for dinosaur bones.
Part of the expanded Learning Centre, The Digital Gallery includes a library and a handful of classrooms. Equipped with digital video projectors and 16 workstations, the gallery allow visitors to interact with the ROM’s collections in virtual-and three-dimensional spaces. The Digital Gallery offers two 50-minute presentations. These include, Daily Life in Ancient Egypt, and Shaping Canada: Our Voices and Stories. The primary targets for these programs have been at school groups.
The Patrick and Barbara Keenan Family Gallery is an interactive gallery oriented on the Museum’s research and collections. Hundreds of specimens are on venue for visitors to handle. Plants and animals in a diversified environment are explored by visitors. Featured within the gallery is the Tallgrass Prairies and Savannas—a dynamic display that highlights the plight of one of the most biologically diverse yet jeopardized habitats in Ontario. Interactive displays in the gallery go into stories and issues of tall grass prairies.
Institute for Contemporary Culture gallery
Located on Level 4 of the Lee-Chin Crystal, the Roloff Beny Gallery of the Institute for Contemporary Culture (ICC) hosts the Royal Ontario Museum's contemporary art exhibitions. This high-ceilinged multimedia gallery of approximately 6,000 sq ft (600 m2) serves as the ICC's main exhibition space and the ROM's window on contemporary society, connecting the ROM's vast natural history and world cultures collection to contemporary art and events. The gallery has most recently featured exhibitions on fashion photography, street art, modern Chinese urban design and architecture, and contemporary Japanese art.
BIG is located on level 4 in the Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles and Costume. The BIG Exhibition showcases textiles and costumes from Egyptian clothing to 20th-century Haute Couture. It will be on display until fall 2013.
Sebastião Salgado: GENESIS is located in the Roloff Gallery, Michael Lee Crystal level 4 and Centre Block, level 3. This exhibition displays the eight-year photographic expedition in which photojournalist Sebastião Salgado traveled to 32 different locations around the globe. Over two hundred photographs will be displayed until September 2, 2013.
Sovereign Allies/Living Cultures: First Nations of the Great Lakes is located in the Daphne Cockwell Gallery Canada First Peoples, level 1. This exhibition explores the roles of First Nations Warriors in the War of 1812 and its aftermath. This exhibition is set to run indefinitely.
Dinosaur Eggs and Babies: Remarkable Fossils from South Africa located in the Reed Gallery of Mammals on level 2. This exhibition displays 190 million year old fossils that provide information on how early dinosaurs grew up. The exhibition is ongoing.
Jane Ash Poitras: New Acquisitions of Contemporary First Nations Art is located in the Daphne Cockwell Gallery of Canada on level 1 in the Contemporary expressions exhibition space. This exhibition looks at four Jane Ash Poitras paintings that explore colonialism and traditional knowledge of therapeutic properties and spiritual significance of plants. The exhibition is running indefinitely. 
Between Princely India and the British Raj: The Photography of Raja Deen Dayal is located in the Hilary and Galen Weston Wing on level 3. This exhibition displays work by the first Indian photographer to gain international renown, Raja Deen Dayal. The exhibition, which features over 100 works from the late 19th-century, will run until January 12, 2014.
Mesopotamia will be displayed at the ROM starting June 22, 2013 in the Garfield Weston Exhibition Hall located in the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal on level 2B. The exhibition will display information about Mesopotamia’s social and technological developments through time in ancient Sumer (4000-2000 BCE), the dominance of the Assyrian World Empire (1000 – 600 BCE), and the rise and fall of Babylon (600 -540 BCE). The rediscovery of Mesopotamia by the west and the catastrophic impact of the 2003 looting of Baghdad’s Iraq Museum are also touched upon. This exhibition is set to run until January 5, 2014.
The ROM strives to recognize the diversity of visitor abilites and needs and offers programs and services to ensure accessibility for all. These include:
- Tactile Tours that allow visitors to explore objects through touch
- An Audio Description Program that provides descriptive narration for people who are blind or have vision loss
- Tactile books featuring Braille, raised line graphics, large print and color picutures
- Large Print Guides
- Gallery Interpreters that provide visitors with active exploration activies
- American Sign Language Interpretation and Tours
- ASL Video Podcasts
- Museum Interactive Touch Screens
- A Hearing Loop System
- Assistive Communication Technology (Ubi-Duo) which allowers real time commiunication between a deaf visitor and staff members
Royal Ontario Museum Community Access Network (ROMCAN)
In 2008, ROMCAN was created to make the ROM more accessible to a variety of communities. ROMCAN provides free general admission tickets to participating community and charitable organizations. Each year, thousands of general admission tickets are distributed to these communities.
ROMCAN tries to eliminate barriers that might stand between these communities and the museum. Since 2008, ROMCAN developed into a larger community initiative that seeks to enable learning experiences for visitors and organizations. A main goal of the program is to give the museum the power to engage, share and inspire a greater diversity of visitors by trying to break through economic and social barriers.
The novel Calculating God by Canadian science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer is mainly set in the ROM. The novel received nominations for both the Hugo and John W. Campbell Memorial Awards in 2001.
In the novel Bugs Potter Live at Nickaninny by Canadian children's author Gordon Korman, one of the primary characters searching for the lost Naka-mee-chee (fictional) tribe was from the ROM.
Galleries of the Royal Ontario Museum: Ancient Egypt and Nubia. 1994. Roberta L. Shaw and Krzysztof Grzymski. Royal Ontario Museum. ISBN 0-88854-411-1.
- The Canadian Encyclopedia
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- Dickson, Lovat (1986). The Museum Makers: the Story of the Royal Ontario Museum. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-7441-3.
- Jamie, Bradburn. "Historicist: A Handbook to the Royal Ontario Museum, 1956". Torontoist. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
- "Collections and Research". Royal Ontario Museum. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "Royal Ontario Museum Burgess Shale Expeditions (1975-ongoing)". Royal Ontario Museum. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "Our History". Royal Ontario Museum. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
- "History of the Royal Ontario Museum". Royal Ontario Museum. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
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