Stories

Worlds to Explore

Worlds to Explore

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1990s

This assorted group came from many departments but the at the core were fast-learning librarians and library technicians. No one's job description mentioned the web: it was a volunteer effort. The ROM was a very early adaptor among museums. From the vantage point of twenty years later, it...

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.

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...

Groundbreaking Ceremony

Groundbreaking Ceremony

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2000s

At the groundbreaking for the crystal, Hilary Weston and Michael Lee Chin get to drive the shovel.

Canadiana Building

Canadiana Building

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1950s

Sigmund Samuel, who has been an important donor as well as a collector in his own right, pays for a building to house the fine and decorative art and rare books that he has donated, as well as the provincial archives. This building remains as a second ROM location until very recently and shows up...

ROM Murals Created

ROM Murals Created

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1940s

Sylvia Hahn, an artist on staff, completed four murals in what was then the Armour Court. Displays of armour were a popular museum feature. Charles Currelly, Director of the ROM of Archaeology,  thought that armour was an important resource for teaching about history and craftsmanship. Keeping...

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...

A Bear Story

A Bear Story

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1960s

  There is just one complete study skeleton of the huge Brown Bear (Ursus arctos  - also known as the Grizzly or Kodiak bear) in the ROM's mammalogy collection. And I remember vividly when it arrived in 1965.   I was a summer student in the ROM's Department of Entomology and...

The Museum Cat

The Museum Cat

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1960s

This is ROMA, one of two rescue cats who were responsible for rodent control during the 60s. The Museum photographer posed her in the studio. Gladys Wong, a cleaner, brought them from Woodbine Racetrack and fed them as part of her job. They hung out next to the security officers' room in the...

A Museum for the University

A Museum for the University

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1900s

A Royal Commission on the Future of the University recommends establishing a university museum. Sir Edmund Walker has had a concept in mind for at least 20 years. “Every year’s delay is a misfortune, not only to the education of the students.... but to the education and material welfare of the...