The ROM Announces Complimentary Access to the Daphne Cockwell Gallery Dedicated to First Peoples Art & Culture

TORONTO, April 18, 2018 – The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is pleased to announce that, starting today, the Daphne Cockwell Gallery dedicated to First Peoples art & culture will be open free-of-charge to the public. Today’s announcement is part of the Museum’s broader effort to foster greater appreciation of the Indigenous collections stewarded by the Museum, and to support the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report.  This is also one in a series of long term initiatives aimed at increasing public access to the Museum. This initiative is generously supported by the Government of Ontario.

“Opening the doors to this extraordinary collection of Indigenous art and culture is an important step forward for the Museum,” said ROM Director & CEO Josh Basseches. “This new initiative reinforces our commitment to deepen our engagement with the community, while reducing barriers to access and making the Museum a more inclusive and welcoming space for all to enjoy.”

A number of interpretive and physical improvements have been made to the Gallery to enhance the visitor experience. These include the addition of an Indigenous Knowledge Resource Teacher, who will be in the Gallery during peak hours, Monday to Friday, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, engaging visitors with opportunities to better understand the history, cultures and contributions of Indigenous peoples.  Among the physical enhancements, the entry to the gallery has been widened to improve sightlines and flow, some objects have been relocated to increase their impact, a tobacco offering stand has been added, and a gathering space has been created to accommodate group learning activities.

Located on the main floor of the Hilary and Galen Weston Wing, the Daphne Cockwell Gallery dedicated to First Peoples art & culture, is one of the ROM’s premiere cultural spaces, featuring more than one thousand works of art and cultural heritage. Originally created in 2005 with the input of Indigenous advisors across Canada, this permanent gallery explores aspects of Indigenous cultures through collections housed at the ROM.

“Providing greater access to the Daphne Cockwell Gallery will help visitors gain a deeper understanding of this land by telling the vital stories of Indigenous peoples. I encourage everyone to visit the Gallery to take in the rich and insightful works that continue to hold strong cultural significance today,” said Hon.  Daiene Vernile, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

The announcement marks the latest of several initiatives the institution is undertaking to build community and ensure Indigenous knowledge and perspectives are reflected at the ROM. Among them, the Museum is embarking on a search for a Curator of Indigenous Art & Culture, which will be held by a person of Indigenous heritage. The Museum has also formed an Indigenous Advisory Circle comprised of Indigenous knowledge carriers to advise the institution’s educational and curatorial departments, and an Indigenous-led Youth Cabinet that works with the knowledge carriers to create experiences for youth. In addition, the ROM continues to expand its well-established Indigenous learning program, which is supported by a staff of Indigenous Knowledge Resource Teachers. And last summer, the ROM presented Anishinaabeg: Art & Power, an important, critically acclaimed exhibition co-curated by artist Saul Williams (North Caribou Lake First Nation) and historian Alan Corbiere (M’Chigeeng First Nation).

For further information on the Daphne Cockwell Gallery dedicated to First Peoples art & culture visit

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Opened in 1914, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) showcases art, culture, and nature from around the globe and across the ages. One of North America's most renowned cultural institutions, Canada's largest museum is home to a world-class collection of more than 12 million objects and specimens, featured in 40 gallery and exhibition spaces. As the country’s preeminent field research institute and an international leader in new and original findings in biodiversity, palaeontology, earth sciences, the visual arts, material culture, and archaeology, the ROM plays a vital role in advancing our global understanding of the artistic, cultural, and natural world. The Renaissance ROM expansion project (2007) merged the iconic architectural heritage of the original building with the Studio Daniel Libeskind-designed Michael Lee-Chin Crystal. A distinctive new symbol of Toronto for the 21st century, the Lee-Chin Crystal marked the beginning of a new era for the ROM as the country's premier cultural and social destination.