Daphne Cockwell Gallery dedicated to First Peoples art & culture | Level 1

Collection Update

The First Peoples Gallery opened in 2005 with input from Indigenous advisors. Since then, additional cultural specialists worked with the museum to update sections of the gallery. We are grateful to those who forged paths for more accurate representation of First Peoples.

Over the years, Indigenous people have advocated for a shift from advisement to greater authority over how we are represented in museums.

In a new process at ROM, Indigenous museum professionals will lead critical changes to this gallery. The process will be experimental. We will engage Indigenous advisors, artists, and knowledge holders and work in partnership with ROM curatorial, exhibitions, and learning staff.

Together, we will create a gallery that shares Indigenous lifeways, cultural expressions, and worldviews from our perspectives. During your next visit to the gallery, keep an eye out for ongoing changes.

The participation of knowledge holders and Indigenous leaders, scholars, artists, and members of our communities is critical to the success of this project. Visit rom.on.ca/FPGcontact to share your thoughts.

— Independent consultants Tim Johnson (Mohawk) and Adrienne Lalli Hills (Wyandotte Nation)

About the Gallery

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 ROM’s premiere cultural spaces, featuring more than one thousand works of art and cultural heritage. 

The continuing First Peoples legacy comes alive in this multi-layered gallery that discusses the complex relationship between traditions and present life, the work of collectors who sought to document the unique experiences of Indigenous cultures, the development of museums where First Peoples’ material culture could be preserved, and through contemporary art, provide a sense of what it means to be an Indigenous person in the contemporary world.

Explore a rich cultural legacy embodied in objects devoted to travel, subsistence, family life, the spiritual world, and artistic expressions. Space devoted to rotating exhibitions brings First Peoples contemporary works into focus and multimedia spaces allow visitors to experience Indigenous languages, music and performance. Included is a circular theatre devoted to the screening of films and live performances by First Peoples. 

As part of ROM’s broader effort to foster a greater appreciation of the Indigenous ancestral objects in the Museum's collections, and to support the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, admission to the Daphne Cockwell Gallery dedicated to First Peoples art & culture is free of charge to the public.


More than 1,000 objects provide a cultural context and examine the economic and social forces that have influenced Indigenous culture and art.


Canada, west to the Pacific Ocean, north to the Arctic, east to the Atlantic, with some objects from cultures in Alaska and south of the Canada-United States border.


From Pre-European times to the present day.

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