“On the weekends, Molly’s grandma takes her to the museum. It’s a special time together to learn new things and explore ideas. Molly brings her notebook to sketch specimens and collect interesting facts. Grandma says the whole world is full of magic if you just look for it.” This excerpt from the ROM’s most recent and just-published children’s book Molly and the Mastodon, captures the spirit behind Nita and Don Reed’s generous gift that supported its publication. As long-standing supporters of the Museum, the Reeds have always seen the Museum as a magical place for learning that they love to visit with their five grandchildren, to whom the book is dedicated.
“We have been proud supporters of this amazing museum in many different ways since Nita began volunteering here more than 25 years ago. Enabling the creation of a captivating yet educational book like Molly and the Mastodon holds a special place in our hearts, because it’s a charming way to connect children and their families to the ROM, and bring a piece of the Museum home. What a privilege to recognize our grandchildren, and what an ongoing joy to read this book with them.” —Don Reed
While the Reeds have also supported the publication of another ROM children’s book, this one holds a special place in their heart with Molly, the protagonist, named after one of their grandchildren, and the story taking place in the gallery named in recognition of their generous support, the Reed Gallery of the Age of Mammals. The story follows Molly and her grandmother during their visit to the gallery when the mighty mastodon comes to life and takes Molly on a magical journey through the world of mammals. Molly and the Mastodon is written by Denise Dias and illustrated by Tara Winterhalt.
This most recent gift is part of the Reeds’ long history of philanthropy at the ROM that includes thoughtful donations to various areas of the Museum. Known to step up and support important key initiatives, Nita and Don also supported the ROM’s Welcome Project in 2017 with a generous gift in support of the revitalization of the Bloor Street Plaza, later named the Reed Family Plaza. Their gift was key to moving this project forward and created a new way for visitors to enjoy the ROM. With a keen interest in whales, the Reeds also contributed to the Blue Whale project with a special gift to help salvage the Blue Whale that had washed ashore in Newfoundland and prep it for display in the extraordinarily popular exhibition, Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story. And most recently, they were Lead Exhibition Patrons of the current Great Whales: Up Close and Personal, the major exhibition that helped welcome families back to the Museum after months of closure. Caring deeply about the vibrancy of the Museum in the future, Nita and Don have also made a provision to support the ROM through their estates.
Equally as impressive as their philanthropy is Nita’s nearly three-decade involvement as a ROM volunteer. She initially joined the Department of Museum Volunteers, where she sat on the Executive Committee for many years, and then went on to become a ROM Trustee. She has also served on numerous committees including the Bishop White Committee Executive, the Currelly Legacy Society Executive and the ROM Golf Classic Committee. Nita and Don are Honourary Governors of the ROM. Nita’s incredible experience, expertise and leadership have been invaluable and have contributed to many successful initiatives and events.
Nita and Don’s dedication, philanthropic leadership and continued support over the years has had an incredible impact on the Museum. Their thoughtful expansive approach as philanthropists and Nita’s many contributions as a volunteer leader have made the ROM a better place for everyone and will truly leave a lasting legacy. Filled with magic.
Molly and the Mastodon is available now at all major bookstores and the ROM Boutique. All proceeds support the ROM.