Stories

ROM's Champion

ROM's Champion

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1910s

The ROM is fortunate that Sir Edmund Walker believed in a museum for Toronto that would be both academic and public. He was able to gather all the stakeholders together so that the initial funding would be 50:50 government and university. As President of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, as well as...

School Outreach

School Outreach

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1950s

Classes for school children begin in 1933 and continue today.  Lillian Payne, the first teacher, paid for by the Toronto School Board, worked at the ROM for 21 years. Not only did the children come to the ROM- in the 20s, groups from northern Ontario came by train to visit- but also the ROM...

A New Wing

A New Wing

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1930s

Argyle House is demolished. Construction begins. The new wing had been in the original plan, and it was hoped that a later phase would fill in the additional spaces between old and new buildings. This hope remains unfulfilled for a further 50 years.

A Wonderful Gift

A Wonderful Gift

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1990s

Herman Hertzog Levy leaves $15 million for the purchase of Chinese bronzes, jades, ceramics, and sculpture. He has already donated many marvellous objects from his own collections. One interesting proviso is that the funds must be spent within 5 years, and so the curators he trusted are able to bid...

Evolving Governance

Evolving Governance

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1940s

A new Royal Ontario Museum Act increases the size of the Board of Trustees and moves the control and budget entirely to the University of Toronto as a department. There are four discipline museums (Zoology; Palaeontology; Mineralogy & Geology; Archaeology)  plus a Division of Extension, which...

Lions on the Move (Again!)

Lions on the Move (Again!)

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2000s

Demolition of the Terrace Galleries requires that the lions move to the Queen's Park frontage, where they may be seen today.

Approval to Begin is Secured

Approval to Begin is Secured

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1900s

Approval for cost-sharing between the University and the Government of Ontario means that construction can begin.   Edmund Osler who is Chairman of the Conservative caucus twists the Premier’s arm by offering to cover costs himself. He becomes an original Board member and is a faithful donor.

Colonel McLaughlin funds a planetarium

Colonel McLaughlin funds a planetarium

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1960s

The space exhibition may have influenced Col R S McLaughlin to donate $2m for  a planetarium and a further million as an endowment fund. (Dr Meen, Chief Mineralogist, had been trying to raise interest for a decade). The University donated the land. At this point, there was again so much...

Hilary Weston Leads Campaign

Hilary Weston Leads Campaign

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2000s

Hilary Weston leads the fundraising campaign, which will restore the heritage architecture and build "the crystal". She announces a gift of $30 million from Michael Lee Chin, the largest gift to a museum in Canadian history.

J. H. Fleming, Ornithologist Extraordinaire

J. H. Fleming, Ornithologist Extraordinaire

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1940s

J. H. Fleming dies. He has had office space at the ROM since the 20s, when he willed his ornithological collection to the Museum. It was then the largest and most comprehensive private collection of skins, mounts, eggs in North America, with a special focus on birds of paradise. With it came his...