First Peek at Empty Skies: The Legacy of the Passenger Pigeon

Posted: August 21, 2014 - 23:02 , by ROM
Stuffed passenger pigeons from the ROM collections sit on a table in the Gallery of Birds waiting to be installed in the new special exhibit


This weekend marks the opening of the ROM’s latest special exhibition, Empty Skies: the Passenger Pigeon Legacy. It’s a bittersweet exhibit for the ROM; On September 1st, 1914, almost exactly 100 years ago, Martha, the last known Passenger Pigeon, died in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo. The ROM is celebrating its Centennial this year, but at the same time, wanted to memorialize the hundredth anniversary of the extinction of this species, whose population we once seemed to think was inexhaustable.


The Gallery of Birds on the 2nd floor of the ROM all set for the installation of Empty Skies: the Passenger Pigeon Legacy exhibit opening Saturday August 23.

ROM Exhibit Preparator Bernard sets up the stuffed birds for the Empty Skies: the Passenger Pigeon Legacy exhibit

Included in the Passenger Pigeon exhibit is a display focused on eleven other bird species that are endangered, threatened, or special concern today, many of which can be found right in our own backyards. To learn more about passenger pigeons and these Canadian Species At Risk, make sure to visit the exhibit, found within the Gallery of Birds on Level 2 starting Saturday, August 23.


A stuffed passenger pigeon specimen sits on a prep table in the ROM awaiting final touches before being added to the special exhibit

The ROM houses the largest collection of Passenger Pigeons that continue to be used for research purposes, so the connection between these birds and the Museum runs deep. For more insight into the process of bringing this exhibit to life, stay tuned for our weekly blog postings from now until the September 26th, when the memorial will culminate in our De-Extinction Dialogue event. click here for more information, and to register now - before tickets are sold out!


ROM Exhibit Artist Georgia prepares a Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) for the upcoming show.