Friends! Registrars! Hand me that ear!


Friends! Registrars! Hand me that ear!


  • 1982 - 2000

While a student in the University of Toronto's Museum Studies Master's program in 1996-8, I had an internship in the West Asian collections with Bill Pratt, assisting him with an inventory of the Egyptology collections. We took turns with tasks, one of us at a laptop - and it must have been a treat to have a laptop handy in 1997! - and one of us opening drawers and boxes and reading out artifact numbers. One day I was up on a ladder looking at things stored on high shelves, and I came across an unmarked brown cardboard box. If I remember correctly, neither of us knew exactly what might be in it, so I set it down on the top platform of the ladder and carefully removed the top layers of tissue paper...and came across an unattached, mummified ear. I'm easily startled, and I'm sure my shriek was deafening to the entire research wing.

As an American studying in Toronto, the ROM holds a special place in my professional training and intellectual development by introducing me to another nation's cultural perspectives, as well as the opportunity to discover the outstanding Canadiana collections that I would never have known about at home. I was so proud to have a ROM ID badge with my name and picture on it. Each day that I had a shift at my internship, I wore my badge to breakfast at my graduate college just to make sure my friends were jealous of the amazing project I got to work on.

- Beth Watkins, UT MMSt '98, currently the education and publications coordinator at the Spurlock Museum of World Cultures at the University of Illinois