The ROM Department of Museum Volunteers Celebrates 50 Years of Dedication on October 2, 2007

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is proud to announce a special event called 50 Years of Volunteerism to celebrate the Department of Museum Volunteers’ (DMV) 50th anniversary. On Tuesday, October 2, 2007 at 6:30 pm, the DMV in association with the ROM Board of Governors, ROM Special Events and Hospitality Services and Southbrook Winery will recognize the DMV’s first 50 years of determination and dedication in support of the Museum. Volunteers past and present will meet with two of the founding members and many of the 45 past presidents to reminisce, and hear from guest speakers, including William Thorsell, ROM Director and CEO. Since its inception, the DMV has grown from just a few ambitious women to a completely self-managed organization of more than 600 members within the Museum.

"Without our volunteers' invaluable support, the Museum might never have become the first-rank institution it is today," says William Thorsell, President and CEO of the ROM. "This amazing organization has provided the Museum with their deep commitment, ongoing financial support and countless hours of hard work, for which the ROM is truly grateful. "

The DMV developed in 1957 from an informal book group made up young wives and mothers who became interested in donating their time to the Museum. Eventually, this group of twelve women volunteered to give introductory talks and guided tours to the general public. Members, including Jeanne Carter and Joan Randall (who are still active members and will attend the celebration), decided that the formal purpose of the group would be to assist Museum staff as asked, and to encourage public interest in the ROM. Mrs. Randall, the DMV’s first president, has been a volunteer since 1957 and describes this 50-year journey as "one of the most valuable experiences, and one that has made a significant difference to my life." She values the strong bonds of friendship that have been formed over the years, and considers her work at the ROM as her "continuing education." Three of the DMV's original charter members are still actively involved with the Museum. Many DMV members have served as members of the ROM Board of Trustees and as members of the ROM Board of Governors. This year marks a new departure in the DMV’s history, with the election of its first-ever male president, John Hurd.

The DMV’s mandate is to create programs, provide services and raise funds for curatorial research and the acquisition of artifacts and specimens. Over the past 50 years, the DMV members have been successful at working diligently to raise over $5.2 million for artifacts and research. More recently, the DMV contributed approximately $1.3 million towards Renaissance ROM, the Museum’s ongoing expansion and restoration project. The DMV donates an estimated 65,000 volunteer hours a year, a value of close to $2 million to the Museum. The most visible volunteers are Museum Guides, the Gallery Interpreters, and the Meeters and Greeters. The DMV is made up of approximately 30 committees that provide curatorial assistance and education programs, as well as operating all aspects of the ROM Reproductions Shop, which has recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. The DMV have also initiated the popular ROMwalks, ROMbus, and ROMtravel. For more information please visit http://www.rom.on.ca/en/join-us/volunteer