Stories

What Curators Do

What Curators Do

by ROM ReCollects Editor

1960s

Brian Musslewhite joined the ROM as a young man. One of his first tasks was to keep the period rooms clean. They were not glassed in as they are today and there was always debris. The Victorian Room featured a beagle - one of our collection of pets donated by Toronto families - and people...

Archaeologists Then and Now

Archaeologists Then and Now

by Peter L. Storck

2010s

Museums are known for the things inside them – Egyptian mummies, dinosaur fossils,  Greek and Roman marble statues, ‘stuffed’ animals and, my favorite from the Field Museum in Chicago, two adult Neanderthals standing outside a cave, so life-like I stood frozen in awe, worried what their...

A Technician's Life

A Technician's Life

by Brad Millen

2010s

Brad is one of those ROM staff that the visitor rarely sees, yet he is known to scientists around the world. Usually, he is two floors underground at his computer. He contributed this description of his work so that you can see how we are interconnected to our colleagues internationally. JM   ...

Accessible Galleries: The Discovery Room/Gallery

by Kate Zankowicz

1970s

In July 1977, the ROM’s Discovery Room opened and was billed as a “mini-museum for the blind.” It was called the first gallery of its kind in Canada, a learning environment that emphasized hands-on engagement with original objects and specimens. Visitors crossing the threshold of the gallery...

Chasing Centipedes

Chasing Centipedes

by Tony Hanik

1980s

The Curatorial Centre was built with a high level of security in mind. The stairways to each floor were locked off daily at 6 pm and subsequent access was only available by pass keys for the elevator. This meant that each week day a security officer would unlock the stairway doors from top to...

Fifty Years Ago ...

Fifty Years Ago ...

by Bob McCarroll

1970s

Fifty years ago I was thirteen years old. My head was filled with the mystery of the pyramids, pharaohs, and mummies. In a letter to the ROM Personnel Department, I offered my services to assist on a summer dig in Egypt. Helen Downie replied that I was too young to represent the Museum abroad....

Things That Cough in the Night

by Aron Hacker

1990s

After the Planetarium layoffs, some staff found other positions in the ROM. One woman who had been a greeter became a Security Officer. She had to do the lonely midnight shift, making the rounds in a dark and empty museum. One night I got a terrified call: “I think there’s someone in the...

A Fish Story

A Fish Story

by Julia Matthews

1980s

The ROM moved quickly when it was given a frozen coelacanth that had been caught live in April 1987. It was displayed in a glass-topped freezer. Once this species was thought to be extinct. Nowadays, you can watch a video of swimming fish in the Schad Gallery of Biodiversity.

A Field Trip to Davy Jones’s Locker

A Field Trip to Davy Jones’s Locker

by Dale Calder

1990s

  Research at the Royal Ontario Museum over the decades has taken its staff around the world, from east to west, from north to south, and from mountain top to deep sea. During my career as a curator of invertebrate zoology at the ROM, my most extraordinary field trip involved two dives into the...

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...