Stories

Children Fundraise

by Julia Matthews

1960s

As a Centennial project (Canada's 100th) Toronto school children raise funds for a protoceratops specimen. Publicity for this project is typical of the new ways of community building.

My Brilliant Career

by Robert Taylor

1950s

Robert Taylor and  the ROM My first contact with the ROM was in 1948 when our grade 4 class from Coleman Avenue School took the Bloor streetcar along the Danforth to Avenue Road and across to the museum.  We were in awe of the magnitude of the building itself as we trundled up the concrete...

Ruth Home

by Kate Zankowicz

1930s

Ruth M. Home developed the education department at the Royal Ontario Museum from 1928-1945. She was an important figure in the history of the museum, and more broadly, in the history of museum-based education in the province. She developed programming that was geared towards what were then...

Charlie and Fido

Charlie and Fido

by Helen Lovekin

1960s

In the 1960s my father was seconded to the ROM from the Toronto Board of Education and the immediate effect of this career move for me was access to the Royal Ontario Museum after closing hours. I had a tremendous sense of privilege and insider knowledge when my mother and I picked my father up at...

My Father's Home

My Father's Home

by Mary Hofstetter

1950s

My father, C. H. Douglas Clarke, was a naturalist who studied forestry and wildlife biology at U of T in the 30s and went on to a distinguished career as a researcher, administrator and writer in the field of wildlife management. He always told me that when he first came to U of T as an...

McLuhan and the ROM

McLuhan and the ROM

by Lindsay Sharp

1960s

Lindsay Sharp tells a Marshall McLuhan story. See also the story "New Technology". He doesn't mention by name Harley Parker, head of design and a great collaborator with McLuhan, but they scandalised a museum convention with their ideas.

Colonel McLaughlin funds a planetarium

Colonel McLaughlin funds a planetarium

by Julia Matthews

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...

Tactile Tours

Tactile Tours

by Kate Zankowicz

1960s

Two unnamed women are carefully running their fingers around the rim of a lion’s mouth. It’s a ceramic Wedgwood ornament from the nineteenth century. They are in a study room, presumably a behind-the-scenes curatorial space at the museum. A volunteer instructor stands behind them, watching...

J. H. Fleming, Ornithologist Extraordinaire

J. H. Fleming, Ornithologist Extraordinaire

by Julia Matthews

1940s

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

Evolving Governance

by Julia Matthews

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 plus a Division of Extension, which includes Education.