New and Old: How the Museum Connects Us.


New and Old: How the Museum Connects Us.


  • 2000 - 2010

My name is Nathan Bennet. I am a 18 year old first year Math student at Ryerson University and I have worked at the Royal Ontario Museum for about 3 years. I work with the ROMkids department and help with the many different programs such a Summer Club, March Break Camp,Rom for the Holidays,Saturday Morning Club and the ROMSleepover program. Ever since I was a child I had been attending the museum, I remember every part and every single area of the museum galleries and artefacts. I remember before, during and after the crystal, loving every part of galleries, from Ancient Rome to the Schad Gallery and everything in between. I had attended Summer Club as a child for many years and loved it so much that I came back as a teenager volunteering. From about a year of volunteering I eventually was able to snag a job,doing the same things I had done as a kid. However there was one person who I met when I finally realized the beauty of the museum. His name is George. Now George isn't your normal museum employee, he doesn't take people on tours,rearrange galleries, work in security or housekeeping. Heck, he doesn't even work for the museum anymore. George is the ice cream man who every March-September parks his truck outside the museum on Queens Park, selling Ice cream to child and adult alike. I first met George after a long (but fun!) tiring day at work, and so decided to buy some ice cream before my TTC ride home. Since long days were pretty normal, I ended up buying a lot of ice cream. Every time I would buy ice cream, we would talk more and more about the museum and events till eventually one time we talked for about 30 mins. At first it started with questions and statements like "How's business?" and "Man, is it hot today!" and eventually changed to news issues and "Have you seen the new travelling gallery?". The more I talked to George, the more I started to realize his importance to the museum. George actually worked in the museum about 30 years ago as a popcorn seller in the winter. He would sell popcorn inside the museum in the winter and in the summer he would sell ice cream. He told me stories about the museum back in the day, how it worked and operated, and all the fun he had. It started to remind me of what I was experiencing, of how much the museum has done to me. Everyone wishes to be a palaeontologist or curator but George didn't care, he just sold snacks and loved seeing people appreciate the museum as I do. It is people like George who make the museum that much better, the people who add that extra something, like George does as he sells his ice cream to many campers who finish a day at Summer Club ( at the expense of the parents of course). So as the ROM celebrates 100 years and celebrates the work of many palaeontologists, archaeologists and the like. I want the museum to celebrate the other staff members, people like George who sell snacks, housekeeping who makes sure everything is clean and security staff who make us feel safe. It is because of them that we get the full museum experience, they make it that much better and I feel that they should be celebrated as well. The museum is a place for the young to meet the old, but I imagine that George, when I approach his truck to buy some ice cream, feels young again as so many people who fall in love with the museum at a young age end up working there for years to come. So next time you leave the museum, say hi to George, buy a ice cream (especially on those blistering hot days) and thank him for providing that full museum experience.