I really love the Royal Ontario Museum.
Today I thought I’d try to walk through every open gallery, to reacquaint myself with all the collections on display, and I did (though it took a while, as I kept stopping to look at things – as you’re meant to do!).
As ever, I’m inspired.
As a kid, I was lucky to participate in the ROM’s Archaeology summer program, and then in high school to volunteer as an instructor’s assistant with the Saturday Morning Club. (That was memorable. I recall trying to get paint off the walls of the reptile gallery after a child’s art accident.)
After university, I returned as a salesperson in the Reproduction Shop, a (gloriously named) volunteer-operated, long-gone boutique, located in a corner under the golden mosaic dome, selling … gorgeous and high-quality reproductions of items in the ROM’s collections (glassware, jewellery, textiles, etc.). One day, around Christmas, I bravely approached a browsing Christopher Plummer, not quite sure what to say, coming up with, “See anything you like …?” He smiled. He did not buy the offered scarf or tie (and I blushed for the rest of the day).
Anyway … the third floor Egypt, Rome, and Greece galleries are my long-time favourites, and the first places I go every visit. I tend to drag accompanying friends to see the walk-around Acropolis model, which I still think is wonderful.
Today’s overview of all the galleries was marvellous, as it reminded me of the vast scope of the ROM’s collections, under the dual mandate of nature and culture. One of the surprises (other than the friendly sloth!) was the case of “Britain and Ireland to the Time of the Romans,” featuring a Celtic dagger and sheath dated 600-500 BC, found under Westminster Bridge in London. I didn’t know that was part of the collection, wow!
The First Peoples gallery is usually the last I visit, so I can linger there until I’m ready to head out. I’m delighted that the Toronto Underfoot exhibit created by the ROM’s April Hawkins, New World Archaeology Technician, is still on display there. The Greater Toronto Area is rich in archaeological potential, and April’s exhibit and interactive Google map offer a glimpse into the history under our feet.