Stories

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...

William Swinton, Director, 1962 - 1965

William Swinton, Director, 1962 - 1965

by ROM ReCollects Editor

1960s

William Elgin Swinton is appointed Director.  Having retired from the British Museum of Natural History and come to Toronto to be head of the ROM ‘s Life Sciences Division, he is both a scholar and a populariser, especially of dinosaurs. He uses television broadcasts to call attention to the...

Museum and University Prepare to Divorce

by ROM ReCollects Editor

1950s

The University of Toronto requests “a survey of the ROM in its relation to the University of Toronto, the schools of Ontario, and the public”. When the report is made, it recommends that there should be a separation from the University with a full time academic head.

An Unexpected Visitor

An Unexpected Visitor

by Ian Montagnes

1960s

[Chief Mineralogist Dr. Vic] Meen was in Teheran when an unexpected visitor appeared at my office door in October 1964. He seemed inconsequential: a short, elderly man in a grey overcoat. I was alone in the room and on the phone with Dr Swinton, who was at home with a cold. Sharon, my secretary,...

Colonel McLaughlin funds a planetarium

Colonel McLaughlin funds a planetarium

by ROM ReCollects Editor

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...

Unexpected Lesson

by David Wilmot

1950s

The ROM tour had come to an end. My grade seven classmates and I descended to the lower level to collect our winter coats and galoshes. At the bottom of the stairs, I saw a skull, sitting rather haphazardly on a small stand in the hallway. On one side of the skull was a hole, neatly cut about...

"He's looking at rocks"

"He's looking at rocks"

by Gary Layng

1960s

So my parents took their young son to the ROM for some education and entertainment. Being as I was about 5 at the time, I quickly wore Mom out. She sat on a bench in the rotunda waiting for Dad and me to finish in the gemmology exhibit. Dad comes out - alone - and slumps next to her in exhaustion....

Peter Swann, Director, 1966-72

Peter Swann, Director, 1966-72

by ROM ReCollects Editor

1960s

Peter Swann is announced as the next Director. In 1966, he tackles the space issue first. The ROM must expand or choke to death.

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...

The View from 'Home'

The View from 'Home'

by Patricia Shaughnessy

1960s

ROM was one of my favorite haunts growing up in the '60's. Dad was executive manager of the Park Plaza Hotel across the street, and we lived on the 11th floor of the south wing. The rich green of ROM's copper roof dominated our view every time we looked out our windows. It felt like...