ROM Books

The ROM publishes and co-publishes a wide variety of books relating to the Museum, its collections and research. Subject areas include Canadian heritage, world art and archaeology, natural history, palaeobiology, and earth science. ROM books are distributed by University of Toronto Press, except where otherwise noted, and are available in bookstores, online and in the ROM Boutique.

Featured Publications

Wanderings of an Artist Among The Indians of North America

Book cover Image

Paul Kane

Introduction by Ken Lister

5.5" x 8.6"
720 Pages
Hard Cover

Canadian artist, Paul Kane (1810–1871), journeyed between Toronto and the Pacific coast in the late 1840s to illustrate the customs of indigenous peoples and “to represent the scenery of an almost unknown country.” The narrative of the artist’s years of travel was published in 1859 and it enjoyed immediate recognition by audiences hungry for information about North America’s Aboriginal peoples.

To Kane’s disappointment though, the book was limited to twenty-one images and fell short of his desire for a fully-illustrated account. Although pleased with the book’s positive reception, for Kane it represented an unfulfilled dream and lead to his longing for a future edition with “a much more extensive series of illustrations.” The Royal Ontario Museum’s edition of Wanderings of an Artist brings together for the first time Kane’s narrative with the complete complement of images he painted to illustrate his story and experiences.

Nearly 156 years later, this edition will realize the artist’s ambition and provide readers with the full and complete illustrated account of Kane’s travels during the final years of the fur-trade period.

Mexico: Clothing & Culture


Chloë Sayer

Alexandra Palmer

9" x 12"
176 Pages

Textiles are an essential part of Mexico’s enduring legacy. Over the course of four millennia, many cultures have flourished. The Maya, the Aztec and other major civilizations developed distinctive forms of adornment and dress. The Spanish Conquest of 1521 brought European garment styles, raw materials, skills and design motifs. Contemporary textiles owe their range and vitality to this fusion of traditions. Ceaselessly evolving, Mexican textiles combine prodigious technical prowess with exquisite artistry. This publication tells the fascinating story of Mexican textiles. From sarapes and rebozos to splendid examples of beadwork, constructed from, minuscule imported glass beads, the author covers the evolution of male and female dress, and the vast range of techniques used by spinners, dyers, weavers and embroiderers. Chloë Sayer offers a scholarly yet readable introduction to the important field of cultural textiles. This landmark reference work appeals to the many audiences passionate about Mexican history and culture, textiles, and design in general.

Pompeii: In the Shadow of the Volcano

Pompeii In the Shadow of the Volcano (Cover Image)

Paul Denis

Kate Cooper

8" x 5"
76 Pages

A detailed guide highlighting nearly 40 showpieces from the ROM's exhibition Pompeii: In the Shadow of the Volcano. Accompanied by stunning photography and unique contextual images, this guidebook covers of one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of our time. From ordinary household items to extraordinary pieces of art, the book highlights the life of the people of Pompeii, real people, not unlike us. Readers are able to view stunning sculptures rooted in Greek mythology, gladiator equipment that tell the tales of bloody combat, and even a mosaic dog that would have guarded the entrance to a household. From viewing a society in its prime, readers are taken to the moment disaster struck where on display is food that was about to be eaten—bread, figs, and olives well past their best-before date. The disaster becomes all the more real with the heartbreaking casts of the people unable to escape—men, women, children, and even a dog.

Pompeii and its fate are explored through sections that examine the chronology of the disaster as well as its devastating toll and aftermath.


The First Brush: Paul Kane and Infrared Reflectography

The First Brush book cover

Kenneth R. Lister, editor

8.5" x 10.5"
80 Pages
Soft Cover

Canadian artist Paul Kane lived in a century when foreign cultures were expanding across North America. Native cultures were encouraged to adopt different world views and alter the way they made a living. Kane—aware that aboriginal cultures were changing—set out to produce a visual record of Native peoples and the land they inhabited before such a record was no longer possible. From 1845 to 1848, Kane journeyed extensively across Canada, taking graphite, watercolour, and oil-on-paper sketches of the peoples he met and their cultural practices.

As Kane worked on the final art, in some cases certain details were changed and compositions altered. With “Near Infrared Reflectography” technique we can “see” Kane struggling with the oil-on-canvas compositions in his studio. The First Brush: Paul Kane and Infrared Reflectography delves into comparisons between painted versions of the same scene and reveals the initial painting and the copy. Beneath the surface of the finished painting lie his initial renderings, his first drawings, and painted efforts that expose his original intentions for the painting. Were they true to the sketch? Did he wrestle with a desire to present in grand fashion, but then resist the temptation?

This book is a unique insight into Paul Kane’s thinking and artistic processes between the years 1849 and 1856 as he painted in his Toronto studio. It explores the issue of truthfulness in Kane’s art and his struggle for composition. Additionally, these comparisons expose Kane’s response to external pressures, as well as his steadfastness to a realized vision.

ROM Field Guide to Butterflies of Ontario

Butterflies of Ontario, Cover Image

Peter W. Hall, Colin D. Jones, Antonia Guidotti, and Brad Hubley

4.5" x 8"
488 Pages
Soft Cover

This is the very first field guide on the butterflies of Ontario. It highlights the diversity of life by featuring a staggering 167 species of butterflies known to occur in Ontario. The ROM Field Guide to Butterflies of Ontario includes descriptive species accounts, flight season phenograms, and striking field photography of adults and caterpillars. Using range maps based on hundreds of thousands of historical records, and what we believe to be a first for a field guide: computer-modelled predictive distributions, this book illuminates the complete life history of these butterflies. The field guide’s easy-to-access approach, comprehensive coverage, and beautiful design make it an essential guide for both amateur naturalists and professional lepidopterists.

Every Object Has a Story

9.75 x 11.25 inches
188 Pages
Hard Cover

For the past 100 years, the Royal Ontario Museum has gathered precious objects from around the world to connect its visitors to all corners of the globe. To celebrate our centennial, 21 Canadian writers, artists, scientists—including an astronaut—share their personal connections with 21 extraordinary objects from the Museum’s collections.

Read Joseph Boyden’s observations around the Blackfoot robe and Deepa Mehta’s childhood memories of trying to dance inspired by Shiva Nataraja’s “Dance of Bliss.”  Look at the meteorite that Chris Hadfield suggests is an actual glimpse into Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth.  The book captures moments, thoughts, stories—humorous, nostalgic and oftentimes deeply personal.

The ROM in partnership with The Walrus Foundation, brings you an anthology of Canada’s finest writing.  Combining curatorial expertise and unexpected, intimate perspectives, this writing is accompanied by stunning contemporary photography and striking documentary shots, emphasizing the individual experience with these natural and cultural masterpieces.

Available April 8 in the ROM Museum Store or the iTunes Store.

Paul Kane /The Artist/ : Wilderness to Studio

416 Pages

Destined to be one of the most important books published in Canada, this coffee table volume includes the complete ROM collection of 100 oil paintings and 373 sketches, the world's largest Paul Kane collection. Kane's evocative sketches and paintings of Native peoples, customs, and artifacts, have become a treasured part of Canada's heritage.

On the High Road: The History of Godin Tepe, Iran

Hilary Gopnik and Mitchell S. Rothman

400 Pages
Hard Cover

Written to a general-interest audience, On the High Road explores the 4,000-year history of the village of Godin Tepe, on the fabled Silk Road, situated at an intersection of cultures. The authors weave a narrative of the remarkable history of this site in western Iran while explaining how archaeological remains are used to reconstruct the past.

Bollywood Cinema Showcards: Indian Film Art from the 1950s to the 1980s

120 Pages
Hard Cover

Join us on a visual journey through the world of Bollywood Cinema, as we trace the aesthetic and thematic evolution of a film industry that has captivated audiences around the world, becoming the world's largest film producer. The ROM's vintage Bollywood Cinema showcards feature Bollywood icons and award-winning films spanning 40 years of the film industry. Bollywood Cinema Showcards features 90 artifacts from the Bollywood industry, embodying the fanciful and fantastical style of India's cinema culture that has a growing fascination in the West, and a deep cultural tradition in the East.

Burton & Isabelle Pipistrelle: Out of the Bat Cave

Written by Denise Dias
Illustrated by Tara Winterhalt

32 Pages
Hard Cover

Burton & Isabelle Pipistrelle is an imaginative children's book telling the nocturnal adventure of a small Pipistrelle bat named Burton, and his sister Isabelle. The book follows Burton as he ventures out of the Bat Cave and discovers the galleries of the museum. Burton loses his way in all the excitement and has to rely on his superpower-echolocation-to help him get home.