100 years young – happy birthday Royal Ontario Museum!
The first time I visited Toronto back in 2004, I made sure to get to the Royal Ontario Museum. At the time I was working at the Queensland Museum in Brisbane, and it was a natural stop for me to check out a similar museum here. They were already under some renovations at that point, but there was still a lot of really cool stuff to see.
I was excited to see what they’d done with the museum when I visited again in 2007. The renovations recently completed overall, and the new building facade revealed, the museum was fantastic to see as a whole! Now I live here, I’ve become a member, and I’m enjoying supporting the ROM & the benefits I get as a member. Here’s my favourite things about the ROM, as my little celebration of their 100 year birthday today. (Helpfully on museum blogs day!)
The Building. Yes, even the crystal. I think it looks amazing. It has a striking presence. It stands out as a museum of its size should. Plus, I can spot it from my balcony. I imagine the windows must pose a conservation nightmare as far as UV goes, but the gorgeous natural light it provides (especially in the dino & mammals gallery) is awesome. The way the old and new facades have been integrated fascinates me (not just from the outside, but you can see it as you wander inside if you look out for it!). Plus, I love the Stairs of Wonder, which feed off the design so well.
How super involved and developed the ROM’s presence on social media is! The team works hard to share awesome content and interact with their audience and industry partners, and it shows. They have folks ranging from curators to people running programs tweeting, and commenting on/sharing their audience’s content too! Follow them on Twitter.
The simply gorgeous mineral gallery. From a purely nerdy display perspective, this gallery is done so well! From a casual geology lover, it’s a specimen dream. Plus lots of awesome info and spots to just sit and marvel.
The range of stuff you can see! Honestly. There are vast swathes of the museum I rarely visit (mostly the European historic, Roman, Greek & Egyptian sections, because I’m exhausted on that stuff after living in London/visiting Berlin’s amazing museums). But there is always something to see, even if you only have half an hour. Dinosaurs, Indian sculpture & art, a bat cave, textiles & costuming.. honestly, there is cool stuff everywhere. Why, they even have a little Australian stuff on display.
They develop and host terrific temporary exhibitions! I’ve seen a terrific bunch of stuff in the past year – Mesopotamia, the Forbidden City, Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards.
Events! There’s so many, but what I’ve really enjoyed the last little while have been the Friday Night Live events – everyone loves going to the museum after dark. They get some fantastic and interesting groups, performances and whatnot in for these nights – like that time I got to 3D print a little Mesopotamian building!
So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Royal Ontario Museum! I hope to enjoy at least some of the next 100 more.