Stories

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...

Love at the ROM

Love at the ROM

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2010s

Emily and Kyle met in line with hundreds of others at the architectural opening of the ROM’s crystal June 2nd 2007.  The line was long and they stood for 2 hours talking as they waited to see the new ROM.  A lot can happen in 2 hours! It was appropriate that almost six years later, June 24th...

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...

An Important Benefactor

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1990s

Louise Hawley Stone donates $2 million to endow a permanent curatorial position, a chair in Far Eastern Art named for her. (In 2013 there are 8 endowed curatorships)

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...

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...

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...

Lions on the Move

Lions on the Move

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1980s

After arriving in Toronto and presiding over a special gallery, for a few years, the lions watched over Bloor Street. Then they went indoors again and within a few years found a place outdoors, where they wear special coats in winter.

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...