Beloved Assistant Curator Inspires Generous Gift to ROM Palaeontology Department

Janet Waddington

Janet Waddington was a beloved and dedicated staff member at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) for over 40 years. Sadly, she passed away on January 3, 2020, after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer, but not before leaving a lasting impact on her colleagues and the Museum.

“Janet had a deep passion for fossils,” says Jean Bernard Caron, Richard M. Ivey Curator of Invertebrate Palaeontology at the ROM. “I had the pleasure to know her as a volunteer, a student and then as a colleague. She was very personable and always went the extra mile to communicate with the public the importance of our collection.”

After completing her MSc in Geology at the University of Toronto, Janet joined the ROM in 1972 as a research assistant in the Invertebrate Palaeontology Department. She would go on to become an Assistant Curator, before retiring in 2012. During her long career, she worked on a variety of projects and priorities—from collection management to gallery development to public outreach activities. She enthusiastically shared her knowledge and passion for palaeontology and the ROM with visitors, members and the public through events, publications, and public presentations.

Janet will be deeply missed, but her legacy lives on through her exemplary contribution to the ROM community and, more importantly, in the lasting relationships she built throughout her career. To honour her positive impact, friends and colleagues joined together to contributed memorial gifts to establish an expendable fund in support of her lifelong passion. Their donations were later matched by significant gifts from her husband Dennis and her sister, Susan Wood.

The Janet Waddington Memorial Fund will create a permanent memorial, supporting collection and research initiatives, as well as education and outreach programs that will enhance the invertebrate fossil collection that she helped build and so dearly cherished. The projects and activities selected for funding will reflect her passion and commitment to palaeontology and her meaningful involvement with the Museum over the past 40 years.

The ROM is honoured to be a part of Janet’s legacy. If you would like to honour her memory with a gift to the Janet Waddington Memorial Fund, please donate here.

Like Dennis, you too can make a memorial gift in honour of a loved one. Provide immediate support for a ROM program or department of your choosing with an outright gift or a future gift in your estate plansTo learn more about how you can pay tribute to Janet or create your own fund please contact Alice Wu at