Meet an Extraordinary ROM Supporter

Meet Jean Read, Honorary Trustee, RPC Member and Chair of the Currelly Society Executive 

Jean’s first involvement with the Royal Ontario Museum began around 1994 when, as a human resources professional, she was invited to join the Board of Trustees Human Resources and Labour Relations Committee. Following her work with that committee and later with the Collections Committee, she was elected to the Board of Trustees’s in 1997 and during her six-year term, held positions as chair of the Governance and Collections Committees, Co-chair of the Human Resources and Labour Relations Committee and a member of the policy development team, which revised and updated the ROM’s policies.

While on the Board of Trustees, Jean was impressed with the work of the Department of Museum Volunteers (DMV) and decided to join them after the completion of her term as a ROM Trustee. As a volunteer, she has served on the DMV board and as chair of various committees, including DMV Governance and Friends of the Canadian Collections. During this time, she was invited to serve as a member, then chair, of the Board of Governors’s Currelly Society Executive Committee, which facilitates and recognizes future legacy gifts to the ROM. In 2012, she was awarded the Joan Thompson Award for her service to the Museum and has also received an Ontario Volunteer Service Award.

What is the best part of your job on the Currelly Society Executive?
I love to meet our Currelly Society members at special events. We all love the ROM and we have a common purpose to help ensure its future by leaving a bequest to the Museum.

What do you love most about the ROM?
I like to feel the vibrancy of the Museum during busy periods. It’s a social place as well as providing a learning opportunity for members and visitors. I have also made many friends who have the same interest in culture and natural history.

Tell us one of your favourite memories of the ROM?
The first time I walked into the Weston Entrance on Queen’s Park and found myself in the Rotunda, I felt inspired. I still marvel at the incredible ceiling mosaics.

If you had to describe the ROM in one word, what would it be?
I need two: exciting and inspiring.

What excites you most about the ROM’s Centennial?
It has given us a chance to look at the past and use it to inform the future.

Why did you choose to support the ROM’s Blue Whale recovery project?
I made a donation in memory of my late partner to support a future whale gallery at the ROM. We spent many hours happily observing whales in Tadoussac, Quebec, along the British Columbia Coast, and particularly in Grand Manan, New Brunswick. A portion of the gift contributed to the preparation of a Humpback Whale and the balance supported recovery of the Blue Whale.

If you could have anything from the ROM’s collections, what would you choose?
Friends who know me well, and know my love of jewelry, will not be surprised to hear that I would make a beeline for the Gallery of Gems and Gold. There is the tanzanite and diamond brooch...or perhaps the shimmering diamond brooch...or perhaps Mrs. Torno’s gold and diamond necklace. Mind you, I would probably not be able to afford the insurance for these remarkable pieces, so would settle for a Norval Morrisseau painting.