An Artful Legacy

Strong, passionate, and principled. These are some of the words Jessica Peatling uses to describe her late grandmother, Vera Kircheis.  

More than a beloved matriarch, Vera was a dispenser of wisdom who shared many practical life lessons with her children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren – from table manners to driving a car. Yet it was her passion for art that left the most indelible mark on her loved ones.    

“As a child, I remember visiting what seemed like countless museums and galleries, which we probably didn’t appreciate as much as we should have,” Jessica recalls. “Little did we know, those experiences would plant the seeds for our own interests.” 

Vera passed away at the remarkable age of 98 years old, but her passion lives on through her many cherished descendants and through an endowed fund at ROM established with a significant donation during her lifetime and further supplemented by a generous gift in her estate. 

Born in Japan in 1924, Vera spent her formative years in Germany where she developed a love of history and met her future husband, Albert. In 1951, the couple moved to Canada to escape the aftermath of the war. In their new home, they not only built a strong family and a successful export business but also found time to nurture their shared passion for art at ROM.  

In 1971, Vera and Albert became lifetime members of the Museum. They were especially fond of exploring the Samuel European galleries and attending Currelly Legacy Society Lectures, memories that remained with Vera until the end of her life.  

“Some of her last memories were of special moments she and my grandfather shared in the Museum,” says Jessica.  

Inspired by a strong connection to Latin America, Central America and the Caribbean, where much of the family business was based, the Kircheis Family Endowment Fund supports ROM’s research and acquisitions in these regions, with particular focus on Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Cuba, and Panama. Most notably, the fund played a pivotal role in supporting research that enabled the ¡Viva México! Clothing & Culture exhibition in 2016.  

Including ROM in your estate plan is a meaningful way to create a legacy that will last beyond your lifetime and bear fruit for future generations of learners. By making bequests in their estates, donors join the Currelly Legacy Society and gain lifelong access to a full slate of exclusive ROM experiences and opportunities. To learn more, contact Janice Correa at