Stories

Winnifred Needler

Winnifred Needler

by Annette Boenke-Jarek

1950s

Winifred (Friedl) Needler joined the staff of the Royal Ontario Museum in 1935 as a draughtsman-cataloguer.  She took a year's leave to study Egyptian and Near Eastern archaeology, along with Middle Egyptian (hieroglyphics) at Yale, which study she continued upon return to the ROM under the...

Raising the Last Beam

Raising the Last Beam

by ROM ReCollects Editor

2000s

Staff, volunteers, workers, and the architect sign the last steel beam to be put in place.

Hatching Dinosaurs and Hitler's Henchmen

by Gabby Resch

2010s

My kids, now almost 3 and 5, have grown up in the ROM. Since they could walk, each has spent nearly a day a week running through the bat cave, singing "Baby Beluga" as they wander through the Shad Gallery, or trying to commandeer the elevators. When my youngest discovered the button to...

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...

A Great Exhibition

A Great Exhibition

by ROM ReCollects Editor

1970s

Exhibition of the Archaeological Finds of the People’s Republic of China is the most successful and profitable show in the Museum’s history. In three months, 435,000 people saw it, and $600,000 was set aside to fund future exhibitions. It also pointed up the crowding and lack of conservation...

Just a speck of dust?

Just a speck of dust?

by Mark McAlister

1960s

A subtle feeling of anxiety crept over me every time I passed by that large globe in the Geology gallery. The Earth was described as a mere speck of dust, and I felt cold and alone. Somehow, this experience was a seed for new feelings of veneration that developed as I grew older. These feelings...

School Outreach

School Outreach

by ROM ReCollects Editor

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...

Elephants in the Basement

Elephants in the Basement

by Liz Warman

1990s

When my son was small enough to be carried in my arms for the day, I started taking him to the museum. He soon had his favourites. We'd linger at the Nile crocodile, the Maiasaur, the little piece of forest floor in the middle of the beetles-and-butterflies room, the desert changing from day...

Compare and Contrast

Compare and Contrast

by ROM ReCollects Editor

1960s

These two fisheye lens images make a study in ROM evolution

Visiting the ROM as a solo kid in the early 1960s

by Carl Benn

1960s

  I was born in Toronto in the early 1950s and grew up just east of High Park and south of Bloor Street. I don’t remember my first visit to the Royal Ontario Museum, but recall that somewhere around the ages of eight or ten I very much wanted to go to the ROM and explore its galleries,...