The Museum's new brand platform invites audiences to connect with its collections in a fresh light, and to better understand lives and worlds beyond our own.
Every artwork, artifact, and specimen in our collection is a portal to a powerful story, which helps us understand the past, make sense of the present, and shape a shared future. In this series of short explorations, our curators examine the unique objects in ROM's collection that reveal potent stories and address urgent issues.
We live on in what we leave behind.
Dead or Alive? It’s Up to Us.
The oceans are the lungs of our planet, producing most of the oxygen in our atmosphere. And our lungs are under stress. The carbon dioxide and heat that’s absorbed by the ocean buffers us from the full effects of climate change, but that comes with a cost. Coral reefs are vibrant ecosystems that provide vast communities of marine life with shelter and food, but when stressed, corals expel their symbiotic algae and turn white. This bleaching often results in the death of corals, devastating local food webs and human communities who subsist off them. By protecting our marine environments while mitigating climate change, we can help make coral reefs resilient to the immediate impacts of global change, preserving them for future generations.
— Soren Brothers, Allan and Helaine Shiff Curator of Climate Change
East-Meets-West Art. Before Shang-Chi.
Jingdezhen Ware Vase
Like Marvel Studios’ blockbuster Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, this stunning eighteenth-century Chinese vase is a striking blend of western and eastern influences. A favourite of Emperor Qinglong (1711–99), the vase is decorated with a deep blue enamel containing four well-detailed landscape cartouches—a distinctly Chinese style. However, its base and neck are ornamented with a deep yellow featuring large and colourful Baroque-style flowers first popularized in Europe. With its new group of opaque pigments (white, yellow, pink), the vase is what’s called a “famille rose” or “yangcai,” which translates to “foreign colours.” It is a transcendent work of porcelain—and a harbinger of centuries of cross-cultural exchange, from beautiful vases to Marvel movies.
— Chen Shen, Vice President of Art & Culture
To Escape Death, They Became a Diamond.
All the carbon atoms in our bodies were created in the stars, billions of years ago. Formed and re-formed in new ways, carbon is found everywhere on Earth. In pencils, living creatures, and diamonds—one of nature’s most beautiful creations. The word diamond comes from the Greek word "adamas,” meaning “invincible.” When cremated, human ashes still contain carbon. If the ashes are placed under high pressure and high temperatures like those found deep within our planet, we can produce a diamond. When ROM Member Ron Fotheringham was dying, he called ROM from the hospital. He didn’t want to be buried. He wanted his and his mother’s ashes transformed into a red diamond for ROM’s collection. Because a diamond is forever. Like the love between a mother and a son.
— Kim Tait, Teck Chair of Minerology
This Bowl Holds the Memory of an Undivided Kashmir.
Silver Decorative Bowl
Sometimes, objects hold the memories not of a person but of a place. This silver bowl was made in the region of Kashmir, located in the northern-most part of the Indian subcontinent. With a long history of skilled artistic production, Kashmir is known for its natural beauty, which in the 20th century attracted honeymooning couples and served as a backdrop for romance scenes in Indian cinema. Today, Kashmir is divided into disputed territories between India, Pakistan, and China. A history of conflict and heartbreak, shifting political boundaries, and hardship has passed from the time the bowl was made. Its finely engraved paisley and coriander-leaf patterns resemble contemporaneous shawl patterns: evidence of a synergistic dialogue between mediums and makers of an earlier era.
— Deepali Dewan, Dan Mishra Curator of South Asian Art & Culture