A Legacy Not Forgotten

Joan Thompson, James A.S. Thompson and Evan Thompson

Joan Thompson was a long-time ROM volunteer – one of the iconic ‘Three Joans’ who were founding members of the Volunteer Committee (now known as the Department of Museum Volunteers) in the late 1950s. During her near-50 years of involvement with the Museum, she served as a docent, Trustee, Honorary Trustee, Heritage Governor, Volunteer Committee Chair and a member of the Currelly Legacy Society Executive.

But, to James Thompson, she was simply Mum.

“My mum loved the ROM and her appreciation rubbed off on me,” says James. “I remember watching her give tours and just being mesmerized by the different paintings and historic objects in the galleries.”

Joan’s legacy is still alive today, says James, through the Joan Thompson Award which celebrates outstanding staff and volunteers across the Museum. She is also credited with coming up with the name of long-running volunteer newsletter First Magnitude.

As he grew older, James further nurtured his curiosity through the Saturday Morning Club. This long-running ROMKids program immerses children in hands-on education activities grounded in the Museum’s awe-inspiring collections. “By doing and participating in the life of the museum, I learned a lot about art and history,” says James

These enriching experiences had a profound impact on his destiny, says James. He went on to study art and history at Queen’s University and the Courtauld Institute in London, England, and for the last 20 years has been a lifelong learning educator. He currently teaches courses in art and history at Ryerson University’s LIFE Institute and the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies.

Like his mother, James is also giving back to the ROM as a volunteer and a donor. In 2008, he joined the Bishop White Committee, a group of dedicated volunteers who support curatorial research, collection preservation and educational programming in the Museum’s East Asia collections, including Japan, China and Korea.

Through a pledge commitment in his Will, James is also a member of the Currrelly Legacy Society, which offers members exclusive access to special events and learning opportunities. His gift will support the ROM’s vast collection of rare European artworks and historical objects, which was very close to Joan’s heart.

“My mum called the ROM her second home,” says James. “Through my gift, I can ensure her contributions to the Museum will always be remembered while also honouring the important role it has played in my own life.”

A gift in your will is one of the easiest and most effective ways to create a legacy at the ROM. To learn more about how you can support Museum with a planned gift, please contact Janice Correa at janicec@rom.on.ca. Your gift will help the ROM continue to be a place of wonder and discovery for future generations.