Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is a museum
A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, or historical importance and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary. Most large museums are located in major cities...

 of world culture
Culture by region
Cultures of the world is the aggregate of regional variations in culture, both by nation and ethnic group and more broadly, by larger regional variations. Similarities in culture often occur in geographically nearby peoples...

 and natural history
Natural history
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...

 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. With its main entrance facing Bloor Street
Bloor Street
Bloor Street is a major east–west residential and commercial thoroughfare in Toronto, in the Canadian province of Ontario. Bloor Street runs from the Prince Edward Viaduct westward into Mississauga, where it ends at Central Parkway. East of the viaduct, Danforth Avenue continues along the same...

 in Downtown Toronto
Downtown Toronto
Downtown Toronto is the central business district of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is approximately bounded by Bloor Street to the north, Lake Ontario to the south, the Don River to the east, and Bathurst Street to the west...

, the museum is situated north of Queen's Park and east of Philosopher's Walk
Philosopher's Walk (Toronto)
The Philosopher's Walk is a scenic footpath in the main campus of the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It runs in the north-south direction along the ravine landscape created by Taddle Creek, once a natural waterway that was buried during the Industrial Age and now flowing...

 in the University of Toronto
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...

. Founded in 1912, the museum has maintained close relations with the university throughout its history, often sharing expertise and resources. The museum remained under direct control and management of the University of Toronto until 1968, when it became an independent institution.

Containing more than six million items and forty galleries, the museum has notable collections of dinosaur
Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals of the clade and superorder Dinosauria. They were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for over 160 million years, from the late Triassic period until the end of the Cretaceous , when the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event led to the extinction of...

s, minerals and meteorites, Near East
Near East
The Near East is a geographical term that covers different countries for geographers, archeologists, and historians, on the one hand, and for political scientists, economists, and journalists, on the other...

ern and African art
African art
African art constitutes one of the most diverse legacies on earth. Though many casual observers tend to generalize "traditional" African art, the continent is full of people, societies, and civilizations, each with a unique visual special culture. The definition also includes the art of the African...

, East Asian art
Art of East Asia
Arts of the Far East include:*Buddhist art*Chinese art*Japanese art*Korean art*Tibetan art*Thai art*Laotian art*Vietnamese art...

, European history
History of Europe
History of Europe describes the history of humans inhabiting the European continent since it was first populated in prehistoric times to present, with the first human settlement between 45,000 and 25,000 BC.-Overview:...

, and Canadian history
History of Canada
The history of Canada covers the period from the arrival of Paleo-Indians thousands of years ago to the present day. Canada has been inhabited for millennia by distinctive groups of Aboriginal peoples, among whom evolved trade networks, spiritual beliefs, and social hierarchies...

. It also houses the world's largest collection of fossils from the Burgess Shale
Burgess Shale
The Burgess Shale Formation, located in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia, is one of the world's most celebrated fossil fields, and the best of its kind. It is famous for the exceptional preservation of the soft parts of its fossils...

 with more than 150,000 specimens.


The ROM began in 1912 with the enactment of the Royal Ontario Museum Act by the provincial government. It was opened at 3 p.m. EST
Eastern Standard Time
Eastern Standard Time may refer to:*North American Eastern Time Zone, UTC-5*Australian Eastern Standard Time, UTC+10*An album by Hip Hop group Kooley High...

 on March 14, 1914, by HRH
Royal Highness
Royal Highness is a style ; plural Royal Highnesses...

 The Duke of Connaught
Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn was a member of the shared British and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha royal family who served as the Governor General of Canada, the 10th since Canadian Confederation.Born the seventh child and third son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and...

, Governor General of Canada
Governor General of Canada
The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...

. When the museum's site was first chosen, it was still at the edge of Toronto's built-up area and far from the city's central business district
Central business district
A central business district is the commercial and often geographic heart of a city. In North America this part of a city is commonly referred to as "downtown" or "city center"...

; the location was selected mainly for its proximity to the University of Toronto
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...

. The original building was constructed on the western edge of the property along the university's Philosopher's Walk
Philosopher's Walk (Toronto)
The Philosopher's Walk is a scenic footpath in the main campus of the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It runs in the north-south direction along the ravine landscape created by Taddle Creek, once a natural waterway that was buried during the Industrial Age and now flowing...

, with its entrance opening on Bloor Street. It was the first phase of a two-part master plan which was to see the museum eventually expanded towards Queen's Park Crescent as an 'H' shaped building. Many of the artifacts were transferred from the museum's predecessor, the Museum of Natural History and Fine Arts at the Toronto Normal School
Toronto Normal School
The Toronto Normal School was a teachers college in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Opened in 1847, the Normal School was located at Church and Gould streets in central Toronto, and was a predecessor to the current Ontario Institute for Studies in Education...


The ROM's first expansion, opened on October 12, 1933, saw the construction of the wing fronting onto Queen's Park, and required the demolition of Argyle House, a Victorian mansion at 100 Queen's Park. To employ as many men as possible during the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, the excavation for the basements and foundations were undertaken by hand, with teams of workers working alternate weeks.

In 1964, the McLaughlin Planetarium
McLaughlin Planetarium
The McLaughlin Planetarium is a former working planetarium whose building occupies a space immediately to the south of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, at 100 Queen's Park. Founded by a grant from philanthropist Colonel R. Samuel McLaughlin, the facility was opened to the public on October 26,...

 was added to the south, and a multi-level atrium was added in 1975, doubling the floor space.. By the 1980s, the planetarium's audiences were dwindling, and the planetarium was closed in 1995. It re-opened temporarily from 1998 to 2002, when the second floor space was rented to the Children's Own Museum. In 2009, the museum sold the building and property to the University of Toronto, which will redevelop the site for its purposes.

The second major addition to the museum was the Queen Elizabeth II Terrace Galleries on the north side of the building, and a curatorial centre built on the south, which were started in 1978, completed in 1984, The new construction meant that a former outdoor "Chinese Garden" to the north of the building facing Bloor, along with an adjoining indoor restaurant, had to be dismantled. Opened in 1984 by Queen Elizabeth II, a $55 million expansion took the form of layered volumes, each rising layer stepping back from Bloor Street, hence creating a layered terrace effect. The design of this expansion won a Governor General's
Governor General of Canada
The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...

 Award in Architecture.

In 1989, activists complained about its Into the Heart of Africa exhibit; forcing the curator, Jeanne Cannizzo, to resign.

Beginning in 2002, the museum went through a major renovation and expansion project, dubbed Renaissance ROM. The centerpiece of the project is a major facility known as the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, designed by architect Daniel Libeskind
Daniel Libeskind
Daniel Libeskind, is an American architect, artist, and set designer of Polish-Jewish descent. Libeskind founded Studio Daniel Libeskind in 1989 with his wife, Nina, and is its principal design architect...

 whose design was selected from among 50 entrants in an international competition. The design saw the Terrace Galleries torn down and replaced with a Deconstructivist
Deconstructivism is a development of postmodern architecture that began in the late 1980s. It is characterized by ideas of fragmentation, an interest in manipulating ideas of a structure's surface or skin, non-rectilinear shapes which serve to distort and dislocate some of the elements of...

 crystalline-form structure, named after Michael Lee-Chin
Michael Lee-Chin
The Honourable Michael Lee-Chin, OJ is a Jamaican-Canadian investor. He is the founder and Chairman of Portland Holdings Inc., a privately held investment company which owns a collection of diversified operating companies in sectors that include media, tourism, health care telecommunications and...

 who donated $30 million towards its construction. Existing galleries and buildings were also upgraded, with installation of exhibits in the addition spanning a period of months. The final cost of the project was about $270 million CAD
Canadian dollar
The Canadian dollar is the currency of Canada. As of 2007, the Canadian dollar is the 7th most traded currency in the world. It is abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or C$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

. The first phase of the Renaissance ROM project opened to the public 2005, while the Crystal was opened in 2007. Renovated galleries in the historic buildings reopened in stages, and all work was completed by 2010.

Original building and eastern wing

Designed by Toronto architects Frank Darling and John A. Pearson
Pearson and Darling
Pearson and Darling was an architectural firm based in Toronto from 1897 through 1923, a key player in shaping the urban look of the city and the rest of Canada in the first half of the 20th century.-Formation:...

, the architectural style of the original building is Italianate Neo-Romanesque
Romanesque Revival architecture
Romanesque Revival is a style of building employed beginning in the mid 19th century inspired by the 11th and 12th century Romanesque architecture...

, popular throughout North America until the 1870s. The structure is heavily massed and punctuated by rounded and segmented arched windows with heavy surrounds and hood mouldings. Other features include applied decorative eave brackets, quoins
Quoin (architecture)
Quoins are the cornerstones of brick or stone walls. Quoins may be either structural or decorative. Architects and builders use quoins to give the impression of strength and firmness to the outline of a building...

 and cornice
Cornice molding is generally any horizontal decorative molding that crowns any building or furniture element: the cornice over a door or window, for instance, or the cornice around the edge of a pedestal. A simple cornice may be formed just with a crown molding.The function of the projecting...


The eastern wing facing Queen's Park was designed by Alfred H. Chapman and James Oxley
Chapman and Oxley
Chapman and Oxley was a Toronto, Ontario, Canada - based architectural firm and responsible for designing a number of Beaux Arts buildings in the city in the 1920s and 1930s...

. Opened in 1933, it included the museum's elaborate art deco
Art Deco
Art deco , or deco, is an eclectic artistic and design style that began in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s, into the World War II era. The style influenced all areas of design, including architecture and interior design, industrial design, fashion and...

, Byzantine-inspired rotunda and a new main entrance. The linking wing and rear (west) façade of the Queen's Park wing were originally done in the same yellow brick as the 1914 building, with minor Italianate detailing. However, the Queen's Park facade of the expansion broke from the heavy Italianate style of the original structure. It was built in a neo-Byzantine style with rusticated stone, triple windows contained within recessed arches, and different-coloured stone arranged into a variety of patterns. This development from the Roman-inspired Italianate to a Byzantine influenced style reflected the historical development of Byzantine architecture
Byzantine architecture
Byzantine architecture is the architecture of the Byzantine Empire. The empire gradually emerged as a distinct artistic and cultural entity from what is today referred to as the Roman Empire after AD 330, when the Roman Emperor Constantine moved the capital of the Roman Empire east from Rome to...

 from Roman architecture. Common among neo-Byzantine buildings in North America, the facade also contains elements of Gothic Revival
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

 in its relief carvings, gargoyles and statues. The ornate ceiling of the rotunda is covered predominantly in gold back-painted glass mosaic tiles, with coloured mosaic geometric patterns and images of real and mythical animals.

Writing in the Journal of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada , founded in 1907, is a Canadian association representing over 3,600 architects, and faculty and graduates of Canadian Schools of Architecture.RAIC is the voice for architecture and its practice in Canada...

 in 1933, A. S. Mathers said of the expansion: "The interior of the building is a surprise and a pleasant one; the somewhat complicated ornament of the façade is forgotten and a plan on the grand manner unfolds itself. It is simple, direct and big in scale. One is convinced that the early Beaux Arts training of the designer has not been in vain. The outstanding feature of the interior is the glass mosaic ceiling of the entrance rotunda. It is executed in colours and gold, and strikes a fine note in the one part of the building which the architect could decorate without conflicting with the exhibits."

The original building and the 1933 expansion have been listed as heritage buildings of Toronto since 1973. In 2005, a major renovation of the heritage wings saw the galleries made larger, windows uncovered, and the original early-20th-century architecture made more prominent. The exteriors of the heritage buildings were cleaned and restored. The restoration of the 1914 and 1933 buildings was the largest heritage project underway in Canada. The renovation also included the newly-restored Rotunda with reproductions of the original oak doors, a restored axial view from the Rotunda west through to windows onto Philosophers' Walk, and ten renovated galleries comprising a total of 90000 square feet (8,361.3 m²).

In the master plan designed by Darling and Pearson in 1909, the ROM took a form similar to that of J.N.L. Durand's ideal model of the museum (published in the early 19th century). It was envisioned as a square plan with corridors running through the centre of the composition, converging in the middle with a domed rotunda. Overall, it referenced the upper-class palaces of the 17th and 18th centuries, and aimed at having a strong sense of monumentality. All the architectural elements—the deep cornice, decorative top, eave brackets—add to this strength that the ROM possessed, as it was purely a structure with the function of collecting, but not for exhibiting.

Curatorial centre

Designed by Toronto architect Gene Kinoshita, with Mathers & Haldenby, the curatorial centre forms the southern section of the museum. Completed in 1984, it was built during the same expansion as the former Queen Elizabeth II Terrace Galleries which stood on north side of the museum. The architecture is a simple modernist
Modern architecture
Modern architecture is generally characterized by simplification of form and creation of ornament from the structure and theme of the building. It is a term applied to an overarching movement, with its exact definition and scope varying widely...

 style of poured concrete, glass, and pre-cast concrete and aggregate panels.

The curatorial centre houses the museum's administrative and curatorial services, and provides storage for artifacts that are not on exhibit.

The Crystal

First opened in 2007, the Crystal houses the new main entrance to the museum, a gift shop, a restaurant, a cafeteria, seven additional galleries and Canada's largest temporary exhibition hall in the lower level. Designed by Daniel Libeskind
Daniel Libeskind
Daniel Libeskind, is an American architect, artist, and set designer of Polish-Jewish descent. Libeskind founded Studio Daniel Libeskind in 1989 with his wife, Nina, and is its principal design architect...

, the Deconstructivist
Deconstructivism is a development of postmodern architecture that began in the late 1980s. It is characterized by ideas of fragmentation, an interest in manipulating ideas of a structure's surface or skin, non-rectilinear shapes which serve to distort and dislocate some of the elements of...

 crystalline-form is clad in 25 percent glass
Glass is an amorphous solid material. Glasses are typically brittle and optically transparent.The most familiar type of glass, used for centuries in windows and drinking vessels, is soda-lime glass, composed of about 75% silica plus Na2O, CaO, and several minor additives...

 and 75 percent aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

 sitting on top of a steel frame
Steel frame
Steel frame usually refers to a building technique with a "skeleton frame" of vertical steel columns and horizontal -beams, constructed in a rectangular grid to support the floors, roof and walls of a building which are all attached to the frame...

. The Crystal's canted walls do not touch the sides of the existing heritage buildings, save for where pedestrian crossing occurs and to close the envelope between the new form and the existing walls.

The building's design is similar to some of Libeskind's other works, notably the Jewish Museum
Jewish Museum Berlin
The Jewish Museum Berlin , in Berlin, Germany, covers two millennia of German Jewish history. It consists of two buildings. One is the old Kollegienhaus, a former courthouse, built in the 18th century. The other, a new addition specifically built for the museum, designed by world-renowned architect...

 in Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, the London Metropolitan University Graduate Centre
London Metropolitan University
London Metropolitan University , located in London, England, was formed on 1 August 2002 by the amalgamation of the University of North London and the London Guildhall University . The University has campuses in the City of London and in the London Borough of Islington.The University operates its...

, and the Fredric C. Hamilton Building
Denver Art Museum
The Denver Art Museum is an art museum in Denver, Colorado located in Denver's Civic Center.It is known for its collection of American Indian art,and has a comprehensive collection numbering more than 68,000 works from across the world....

 at the Denver Art Museum. The steel framework was manufactured and assembled by Walters Inc. of Hamilton, Ontario
Hamilton, Ontario
Hamilton is a port city in the Canadian province of Ontario. Conceived by George Hamilton when he purchased the Durand farm shortly after the War of 1812, Hamilton has become the centre of a densely populated and industrialized region at the west end of Lake Ontario known as the Golden Horseshoe...

. The extruded anodized aluminium cladding was fabricated by Josef Gartner in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, the only company in the world that can produce the material. The company also provided the titanium cladding for Frank Gehry
Frank Gehry
Frank Owen Gehry, is a Canadian American Pritzker Prize-winning architect based in Los Angeles, California.His buildings, including his private residence, have become tourist attractions...

's Guggenheim Museum
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a museum of modern and contemporary art, designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, built by Ferrovial, and located in Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain. It is built alongside the Nervion River, which runs through the city of Bilbao to the Atlantic Coast. The...

 in Bilbao
Bilbao ) is a Spanish municipality, capital of the province of Biscay, in the autonomous community of the Basque Country. With a population of 353,187 , it is the largest city of its autonomous community and the tenth largest in Spain...

, Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...


The overall aim of the Crystal is to provide openness and accessibility. It seeks to blur the lines between the threshold between the public area of the street and the more private area of the museum. The goal is to act as an open threshold where people as well as artifacts animate the spaces. The main lobby is a three-story high atrium, named the Hyacinth Gloria Chen Crystal Court. The lobby is overlooked by balconies and flanked by the J.P. Driscoll Family Stair of Wonders and the Spirit House, an interstitial space formed by the intersection of the east and west crystals, intended as a space of emotional and physical diversion.

Opened on June 1, 2007, by Governor General
Governor General of Canada
The Governor General of Canada is the federal viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II...

 Michaëlle Jean
Michaëlle Jean
Michaëlle Jean is a Canadian journalist and stateswoman who served as Governor General of Canada, the 27th since Canadian Confederation, from 2005 to 2010....

, the Architectural Opening of the "Michael Lee-Chin Crystal" was controversial. Public opinion was divided about the merits of its angular design. On its opening, Globe and Mail
The Globe and Mail
The Globe and Mail is a nationally distributed Canadian newspaper, based in Toronto and printed in six cities across the country. With a weekly readership of approximately 1 million, it is Canada's largest-circulation national newspaper and second-largest daily newspaper after the Toronto Star...

architecture critic Lisa Rochon complained that "the new ROM rages at the world," calling it oppressive, angsty, and hellish, while others (perhaps championed by the architecture critic at the competing Toronto Star
Toronto Star
The Toronto Star is Canada's highest-circulation newspaper, based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Its print edition is distributed almost entirely within the province of Ontario...

, Christopher Hume) hailed it as a monument. Some critics have gone as far as ranking it as one of the ten ugliest buildings in the world. The project also experienced budget and construction time over-runs, and drew comparisons to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao for using so-called "starchitecture" to attract tourism.

In October 2007, the Lee-Chin Crystal was reported to have suffered from water leakage. This caused concerns regarding the building's resilience to weather, especially in the face of the new structure's proximate first winter. Although a two-layer cladding system was incorporated into the design of the Crystal, intended to prevent the formation of dangerous snow loads on the structure, past architectural creations of Daniel Libeskind, including the Denver Art Museum
Denver Art Museum
The Denver Art Museum is an art museum in Denver, Colorado located in Denver's Civic Center.It is known for its collection of American Indian art,and has a comprehensive collection numbering more than 68,000 works from across the world....

, have suffered from weather-related complications.

Installation of the permanent galleries of the Lee-Chin Crystal began mid-June 2007, after a ten-day period when all the empty gallery spaces were open to the public.


Originally, there were five major galleries at the ROM, one each for the fields of archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

, geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

, mineralogy
Mineralogy is the study of chemistry, crystal structure, and physical properties of minerals. Specific studies within mineralogy include the processes of mineral origin and formation, classification of minerals, their geographical distribution, as well as their utilization.-History:Early writing...

, paleontology
Paleontology "old, ancient", ὄν, ὀντ- "being, creature", and λόγος "speech, thought") is the study of prehistoric life. It includes the study of fossils to determine organisms' evolution and interactions with each other and their environments...

, and zoology
Zoology |zoölogy]]), is the branch of biology that relates to the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct...

. In general the museum pieces were labelled and arranged in a static fashion that had changed little since Edwardian times. For example, the insects exhibit that lasted up until the 1970s housed insects from around the world in long rows of glass cases, with insects of the same genus pinned to the inside of the cabinet, with only the species name and location found as a description.

By the 1960s, more interpretive displays were ushered in, among the first being the original dinosaur gallery, established in the mid-1960s. Dinosaur fossils were now staged in dynamic poses against backdrop paintings and models of contemporaneous landscapes and vegetation. The displays became more descriptive and interpretive, sometimes, as with the extinction of the woolly mammoth, offering several different leading theories on the issue for the visitor to ponder. This trend continued, and up until the present time the galleries became less staid, and more dynamic or descriptive and interpretive. This trend arguably came to a culmination in the 1980s with the opening of The Bat Cave, where a sound system, strobe lights and gentle puffs of air attempts to re-create the experience of walking through a cave as a flock of bats fly out.

The original galleries were simply named after their subject material, but in more recent years, individual galleries have been named in honour of sponsors who have donated significant funds or collections to the institution. There are now two main categories of galleries present in the ROM: the Natural History Galleries and the World Culture Galleries.

Natural history galleries

The Natural history galleries are all collected on the second floor of the museum, and contains collections and samples of various animals from around the world.

The Gallery of Birds depicts several hundred bird specimens, illustrating the many different habits and ecological niches they inhabit. This gallery is dominated by the large "Birds in flight" display, and before the Schad Gallery opened, included exhibits of now extinct species, such as the Passenger Pigeon
Passenger Pigeon
The Passenger Pigeon or Wild Pigeon was a bird, now extinct, that existed in North America and lived in enormous migratory flocks until the early 20th century...

, which was moved to the Schad Gallery.

The Bat Cave, a reconstruction of the St. Clair cave in Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

, is filled with bats and other animals typically found in such caves, including spiders and snakes. It underwent renovations in February 2010 and opened later that month.

The Keenan Family Gallery of Hands-On Biodiversity provides visitors with the chance to experience and examine the world of nature close-up. Exhibits include a glassed-in working beehive
A beehive is a structure in which bees live and raise their young.Beehive may also refer to:Buildings and locations:* Bee Hive, Alabama, a neighborhood in Alabama* Beehive , a wing of the New Zealand Parliament Buildings...

, shed snake skins, and drawers filled with insect, bird, amphibian, reptile and mammal specimens.
The James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs and Gallery of the Age of Mammals features many examples of complete dinosaur
Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals of the clade and superorder Dinosauria. They were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for over 160 million years, from the late Triassic period until the end of the Cretaceous , when the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event led to the extinction of...

 skeletons, as well as those of early birds, reptiles, mammals, and marine animals, ranging from the Jurassic
The Jurassic is a geologic period and system that extends from about Mya to  Mya, that is, from the end of the Triassic to the beginning of the Cretaceous. The Jurassic constitutes the middle period of the Mesozoic era, also known as the age of reptiles. The start of the period is marked by...

 to Cretaceous
The Cretaceous , derived from the Latin "creta" , usually abbreviated K for its German translation Kreide , is a geologic period and system from circa to million years ago. In the geologic timescale, the Cretaceous follows the Jurassic period and is followed by the Paleogene period of the...

 periods. The highlight of the exhibit is "Gordo", a recently rediscovered Barosaurus
Barosaurus ; Greek barys/βαρυς meaning 'heavy' and saurus/σαυρος meaning 'lizard', 'heavy lizard') was a giant, long-tailed, long-necked, plant-eating dinosaur closely related to the more familiar Diplodocus...

 skeleton that is the largest dinosaur on display in Canada.

Designed by Reich + Petch and opened in late 2009, the Life in Crisis: Schad Gallery of Biodiversity features endangered
Endangered species
An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters...

 species, including specimens of a polar bear
Polar Bear
The polar bear is a bear native largely within the Arctic Circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is the world's largest land carnivore and also the largest bear, together with the omnivorous Kodiak Bear, which is approximately the same size...

, a giant panda
Giant Panda
The giant panda, or panda is a bear native to central-western and south western China. It is easily recognized by its large, distinctive black patches around the eyes, over the ears, and across its round body. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the panda's diet is 99% bamboo...

, a white rhinoceros
White Rhinoceros
The White Rhinoceros or Square-lipped rhinoceros is one of the five species of rhinoceros that still exist. It has a wide mouth used for grazing and is the most social of all rhino species...

, a Burmese Python
Burmese Python
The Burmese Python is the largest subspecies of the Indian Python and one of the 6 largest snakes in the world, native to a large variation of tropic and subtropic areas of Southern- and Southeast Asia. They are often found near water and are sometimes semi-aquatic, but can also be found in trees...

, Canadian coral, a leatherback sea turtle
Leatherback Sea Turtle
The leatherback sea turtle is the largest of all living sea turtles and the fourth largest modern reptile behind three crocodilians. It is the only living species in the genus Dermochelys. It can easily be differentiated from other modern sea turtles by its lack of a bony shell. Instead, its...

, a Coelacanth
Coelacanths are members of an order of fish that includes the oldest living lineage of Sarcopterygii known to date....

, a Rafflesia
Rafflesia is a genus of parasitic flowering plants. It contains approximately 28 species , all found in southeastern Asia, on the Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Sumatra, Thailand and the Philippines.Rafflesia was found in the Indonesian rain forest by an Indonesian guide working for Dr...

 flower, and many other rare species. There are also recently extinct species displayed, including specimens of a Passenger Pigeon and Great Auk
Great Auk
The Great Auk, Pinguinus impennis, formerly of the genus Alca, was a large, flightless alcid that became extinct in the mid-19th century. It was the only modern species in the genus Pinguinus, a group of birds that formerly included one other species of flightless giant auk from the Atlantic Ocean...

, as well as skeletons of a Dodo
The dodo was a flightless bird endemic to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Related to pigeons and doves, it stood about a meter tall, weighing about , living on fruit, and nesting on the ground....

 bird and a moa
The moa were eleven species of flightless birds endemic to New Zealand. The two largest species, Dinornis robustus and Dinornis novaezelandiae, reached about in height with neck outstretched, and weighed about ....

 with a specimen of a moa egg, and many other recently extinct species. The gallery presents the need to protect the natural environment to educate the public about overhunting, habitat destruction, and climate change, which are main causes of extinction
In biology and ecology, extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms , normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point...

. In September, it received an Award of Excellence by the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario. The Schad Gallery of Biodiversity is not merely an exhibition gallery showcasing Earth’s wondrous specimens, but a lesson for the future care of the planet.

The gallery is organized into three zones exploring the central themes: Life is Diverse, Life is interconnected and Life is at Risk. “Interestingly, biodiversity is a relatively new term popularized in 1985 as a contraction of biological diversity” said Anthony Reich, Principal, at Reich + Petch. “It’s a big subject that’s become more relevant to everybody. The challenge was how to tell this big story in a 10000 sq ft (929 m²) space. We decided to design a dynamic, immersive experience with three core themes that hopefully will make a lasting impression on visitors.”

World culture galleries

The A.G. Leventis Foundation Gallery of Ancient Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

houses roughly 300 artifacts, ranging in age from 2200–30 BC.

The Chinese Galleries comprise four sections: the Bishop White Gallery of Chinese Temple Art, the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Gallery of China, the Matthews Family Court of Chinese Sculpture, and the ROM Gallery of Chinese Architecture. The Bishop White Gallery of Chinese Temple Art incorporates three temple wall paintings (recently refurbished) from the Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

 (AD 1271–1386). It also includes a number of wooden sculptures depicting various bodhisattva
In Buddhism, a bodhisattva is either an enlightened existence or an enlightenment-being or, given the variant Sanskrit spelling satva rather than sattva, "heroic-minded one for enlightenment ." The Pali term has sometimes been translated as "wisdom-being," although in modern publications, and...

s. The ROM has one of the largest collection of Chinese architectural
Chinese architecture
Chinese architecture refers to a style of architecture that has taken shape in East Asia over many centuries. The structural principles of Chinese architecture have remained largely unchanged, the main changes being only the decorative details...

 artifacts outside of China, which is housed in the ROM Gallery of Chinese Architecture. This gallery includes a reconstruction of an Imperial Palace building from Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

's Forbidden City
Forbidden City
The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum...

 and a Ming
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

-era tomb complex.

The Gallery of Africa: Egypt focuses on the life (and the afterlife
The afterlife is the belief that a part of, or essence of, or soul of an individual, which carries with it and confers personal identity, survives the death of the body of this world and this lifetime, by natural or supernatural means, in contrast to the belief in eternal...

) of Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

ians. It includes a wide range of artifacts, ranging from agricultural implements, jewelry, cosmetics, funerary furnishings and more. The exhibit includes a number of mummy cases, including the fine gilded and painted coffin of Djedmaatesankh, who was a female musician at the temple of Amun-Re
Amun, reconstructed Egyptian Yamānu , was a god in Egyptian mythology who in the form of Amun-Ra became the focus of the most complex system of theology in Ancient Egypt...

 in Thebes
Thebes, Egypt
Thebes is the Greek name for a city in Ancient Egypt located about 800 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the river Nile within the modern city of Luxor. The Theban Necropolis is situated nearby on the west bank of the Nile.-History:...

, and the mummy of Antjau, who is thought to have been a wealthy landowner.

The Gallery of the Bronze Age Aegean contains almost 200 objects that include examples from the Cycladic
The Cyclades is a Greek island group in the Aegean Sea, south-east of the mainland of Greece; and a former administrative prefecture of Greece. They are one of the island groups which constitute the Aegean archipelago. The name refers to the islands around the sacred island of Delos...

, Minoan
Minoan civilization
The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that arose on the island of Crete and flourished from approximately the 27th century BC to the 15th century BC. It was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of the British archaeologist Arthur Evans...

, and Mycenaean
Mycenaean Greece
Mycenaean Greece was a cultural period of Bronze Age Greece taking its name from the archaeological site of Mycenae in northeastern Argolis, in the Peloponnese of southern Greece. Athens, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns are also important Mycenaean sites...

 periods of Ancient Greece, ranging in age from 3000 - 700 BC

There is a gallery devoted to the aboriginal peoples of Canada
Aboriginal peoples in Canada
Aboriginal peoples in Canada comprise the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The descriptors "Indian" and "Eskimo" have fallen into disuse in Canada and are commonly considered pejorative....

, called the Gallery of Canada: First Peoples, containing many examples of early 19th and 20th century artwork and clothing. It includes artifacts from the indigenous cultures of the Plains, Eastern Woodlands, Northwest Coast, Subarctic and Arctic regions. A rotating display of contemporary Native art is also on display there, a theatre devoted to traditional storytelling, and a collection of paintings by the pioneer artist Paul Kane
Paul Kane
Paul Kane was an Irish-born Canadian painter, famous for his paintings of First Nations peoples in the Canadian West and other Native Americans in the Oregon Country....


The Gallery of Korea is the country's only permanent gallery devoted to Korean art and culture, ranging from stone-age tools to contemporary artworks.

The Prince Takamado Gallery of Japan contains the largest collection of Japanese artworks in Canada, featuring a rotating display of ukiyo-e
' is a genre of Japanese woodblock prints and paintings produced between the 17th and the 20th centuries, featuring motifs of landscapes, tales from history, the theatre, and pleasure quarters...

 prints, and the only tea master's collection in North America. The gallery is named in honour of the late Japanese Prince Takamado, who spent several years at Queen's University
Queen's University
Queen's University, , is a public research university located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Founded on 16 October 1841, the university pre-dates the founding of Canada by 26 years. Queen's holds more more than of land throughout Ontario as well as Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England...

 in Kingston, Ontario
Kingston, Ontario
Kingston, Ontario is a Canadian city located in Eastern Ontario where the St. Lawrence River flows out of Lake Ontario. Originally a First Nations settlement called "Katarowki," , growing European exploration in the 17th Century made it an important trading post...


The CIBC Discovery Gallery allows visitors to engage in interactive, hands-on learning in a family-friendly environment. Visitors may dig for fossils, try on replica armour or costumes from around the world, and explore a child-sized Blackfoot
The Blackfoot Confederacy or Niitsítapi is the collective name of three First Nations in Alberta and one Native American tribe in Montana....

A tipi is a Lakota name for a conical tent traditionally made of animal skins and wooden poles used by the nomadic tribes and sedentary tribal dwellers of the Great Plains...


The expanded Sir Christopher Ondaatje South Asian Gallery and the new Wirth Gallery of the Middle East, opened on February 16, 2008, contain objects from over 5,000 years of history, including religious artifacts, paintings, textiles, sculpture, armour, and weaponry.

The Patricia Harris Gallery of Costumes and Textiles, opened in April 2008, features a broad range of garments and fabrics, including examples from the Chinese imperial court, 18th century European fashions, along with samples of Canadian needlepoint and quilts.

Other world culture galleries include the Herman Herzog Levy Gallery, the Samuel European Galleries, the Samuel Hall-Currelly Gallery, and the Shreyas and Mina Ajmera Gallery of Africa, Americas and Asia-Pacific, which display collections from the diverse indigenous cultures of these areas.

Institute for Contemporary Culture gallery

Located on Level 4 of the Lee-Chin Crystal, the Roloff Beny Gallery of the Institute for Contemporary Culture
Institute for Contemporary Culture
The Institute for Contemporary Culture is located in Toronto, Canada. The ICC is at home at the Royal Ontario Museum, and serves as the ROM’s window on contemporary society...

 (ICC) hosts the Royal Ontario Museum's contemporary art exhibitions. This high-ceilinged multimedia gallery of approximately 6000 sq ft (557.4 m²) serves as the ICC's main exhibition space and the ROM's window on contemporary society, connecting the ROM's vast natural history and world cultures collection to contemporary art and events. The gallery has most recently featured exhibitions on fashion photography, street art, modern Chinese urban design and architecture, and contemporary Japanese art.

Forthcoming galleries

The Renaissance ROM project continues with a number of new or renovated galleries planned within the Museum's historic wings: Gallery of 20th Century Design.

The Museum is affiliated with: CMA
Canadian Museums Association
The Canadian Museums Association is a national organization for the promotion of museums in Canada.The Canadian Museums Association is the national organization for the advancement of the Canadian museum sector, representing Canadian museum professionals both within Canada and internationally. The...

Canadian Heritage Information Network
The Canadian Heritage Information Network is a Canadian government-supported organization that provides a networked interface to Canada's heritage, largely through the World Wide Web. It aims to give access to Canada's heritage for both Canadians and a worldwide audience, by supporting the...

, and Virtual Museum of Canada
Virtual Museum of Canada
The Virtual Museum of Canada is Canada's national virtual museum. With a directory of over 3,000 Canadian heritage institutions and a database of over 600 virtual exhibits, the VMC brings together Canada's museums regardless of size or geographical location.The VMC includes virtual exhibits,...


External links

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