A Student Remembers Teachers from the 1940's


A Student Remembers Teachers from the 1940's


  • 1933 - 1968
  • view toward QP doors showing flooring

Celebrating the ROM’s 100th anniversary brings to mind many memories of my time spent at the Museum in the 1940’s. I was a student at the University of Toronto, Fine Art 4T4, and many of our lectures took place at the ROM. On the train going to Toronto I met Syd Keyes, who was in the first class of Fine Art and was to graduate in June, 1941. He turned my focus from English and History to Fine Art and I never regretted my choice.

There was one security guard at the front door of the ROM who took his job very seriously. He met us as we came in and sternly cautioned us to walk down the side of the Armour Court so as not to mess up the fine floor in the main passage between the display cabinets. There were about ten of us and lectures were held in small rooms or offices and sometimes in the appropriate gallery. As I remember, Bishop White always spoke in front of the Chinese frescos. Dr. Currelly, to my delight, always told us to put down our pens and listen. And listen we did – I can still hear his voice. Dr. Homer A. (Agamemnon?) Thompson was a great favourite and shared his love of Greece, as did other experts. We didn’t realize how lucky we were until later.

When I finally did get to Greece I met Dr. Barbara Philapakki at the National Archaeological Museum. We had a lengthy visit. She had studied at the American School in Athens and was most interested in the Museum of the History of Medicine in which I was very involved at the time.

Penny Welch, aka Jane Coyne 4T4


Comment by Julia Matthews


Ed. Note:

Because Homer Thomson (whose middle name was "Armstrong"), served in the Second World War, his equally distinguished wife, Dorothy Burr Thomson, became acting Director of the ROM of Archaeology for a period in his stead. We lost them to Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study. He was a classical archaeologist. For White and Currelly, see other stories.