Stories

The Museum Cat

The Museum Cat

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1960s

This is ROMA, one of two rescue cats who were responsible for rodent control during the 60s. The Museum photographer posed her in the studio. Gladys Wong, a cleaner, brought them from Woodbine Racetrack and fed them as part of her job. They hung out next to the security officers' room in the...

Dawn of DMV

Dawn of DMV

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1950s

Museum Volunteers committee is started, soon becoming the Department of Museum Volunteers. Over the years since, it has been a crucial force in fundraising and programming. For a long time, they were predominantly women but times have changed! Watch the video for a capsule history of the...

Raising the Last Beam

Raising the Last Beam

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2000s

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

Undeceived

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1990s

  In 1992 there was a competition for Toronto teachers to be seconded to the ROM's Education Department. I made it to the final three, finished my interview, and went home to wait over the weekend for the decision. My wife rented a film so we could relax on Friday night. When the opening...

The Night the Bells Were Silent

The Night the Bells Were Silent

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1930s

This story comes from Elvira Hamilton, who joined the ROM in 1913 and was a staff member for 48 years. " I well remember the night the bells didn't ring throughout the Museum. This was the responsibility of the guard on duty. I don't recall his name but he had a physique that would...

Theodore A. Heinrich, Director, 1955-1962

Theodore A. Heinrich, Director, 1955-1962

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1950s

Theodore Heinrich is appointed Director, the first for a single ROM. He has come from New York and is a novelty in Toronto the Good.  A new era begins with a flurry of restructuring. Salaries are studied. When the subway is being built (in ’59), there is restricted access but the stop gets a...

The Bishop White Committee

The Bishop White Committee

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1960s

Louise Hawley Stone founds the Bishop White Committee, which still exists. It was the prototype for "Friends of...." various departments. Every year there is a festive banquet (a few teacups are on view here) and an inspiring speaker. This is just one of Mrs. Stone's many...

ROM's Champion

ROM's Champion

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1910s

The ROM is fortunate that Sir Edmund Walker believed in a museum for Toronto that would be both academic and public. He was able to gather all the stakeholders together so that the initial funding would be 50:50 government and university. As President of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, as well as...

The ROM Teacher's Son

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1990s

I'm a teacher in education and programs at the Royal Ontario Museum. When my son was in the first grade, he told his teacher, "Life is not fair because I have to go to school while my mom gets to go to the ROM every day."

John McNeill, Director, 1990-1997

John McNeill, Director, 1990-1997

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1990s

John McNeill is appointed Director. Coming to Toronto from a professorship in botany at the University of Ottawa, he has been the Associate Director, Curatorial.Here he speaks of his mandate.