#ROMPhotoTour with Wesley!
Every now and again we’ll post a ROM Photo Tour with one of our staff or campers. Our guide will take us to their favourite galleries, specimens and spots of the ROM, and tell us why they love it so much. It’s a special look at our favorite place, the Royal Ontario Museum!
I was given the task of finding 10 artifacts or displays I liked the most. There weren’t any restrictions or guidelines I had to follow; only to pick 10. So I set off on my journey around the ROM. I ended up taking 169 photos, through which I sorted through. I tried to pick items on display that weren’t really well-known. The iconic images of dinosaurs or the extensive armoury are world-famous, they speak for themselves, I want to bring the other exhibits to your attention. I also tried to address as many parts of the world as I could so that there isn’t really a “eurocentric” bias or anything. History is history, every part of the world is important.
I feel like I have my David Letterman on today as I present to you my top 10 list of items on display at the Royal Ontario Museum.
In no particular order:
I’m kinda cheating here, but this is a picture of three images by Rex Woods between 1935 and 1943 in Canada. The top is of Mother Britannia in all her propagandic splendour. The right is a poster that encouraged Canadians to help finance World War Two by buying victory bonds. The bottom is a beautiful yet haunting image of the lives lost in the First World War. It is a stark reminder that our freedom today is at the cost of human lives, lives cut short by politics, lives ended without closure. First floor, Sigmund Samuel Gallery of Canada.
This is a replica of a Japanese tea room. Traditional tea rooms in Japan were very small like the one here. I like this room because it is just so simplistic and natural yet the significance of a tea ceremony is very serious. Elegant, yet powerful. First floor, Prince Takamado Gallery of Japan.
From the Qing period of Chinese history, this is a written copy of the Qu’ran by Muslims living in China. It shows a mix of cultures with Arabic calligraphy being written in China by Chinese people. It’s an important piece of Chinese as well as religious history. First floor, Joey and Toby Tannenbaum Gallery of China.
This is a full-size model of the Imperial Palace Hall from the Qing period as well. It is such a detailed piece of artistry and was built entirely in China before being transported here in 2005. Traditionally, these Halls were painted with pig’s blood as red dyes were not readily available yet. Very spooky, but so interesting! Panda diplomacy’s got nothing on this. First floor, Joey and Toby Tannenbaum Gallery of China.
The Star of Lanka is the lone 2nd floor representative in my top-10 list. It is an amazingly beautiful gem in the Mineralogy gallery. It is a blue sapphire cut so that a six-rayed star can be seen when light is reflected off the sapphire. It is my favourite item on display on the second floor by far and in a gallery full of inanimate rocks, this one’s a “star” (get it? =P). Second floor, Teck Suite of Galleries: Earth’s Treasures.
Moving up to the third floor, I’ve walked by this display a few times not really knowing what it was until I decided to look down and read the darn sign. Turns out, it’s a Mercedes-Benz coffin from Ghana by Paa Joe. Mind. Blown. I’ve seen sarcophagi, and the Terra Cotta burials, but I never thought of “coffin” when I saw this white car. The Ga people believe that death is a passage from the world of the living to the world of the ancestors and so the vessel they are buried in is meant to underline the individual’s achievements. Third floor, Shreyas and Mina Ajmera Gallery: Africa, the Americas, and Asia-Pacific.
This is an image of a standing bodhisattva. It is unknown which bodhisattva this sculpture is depicting, but many historians have theorized that this is none other than Siddhartha Gautama, before he became Buddha. There is a rich history both in South Asian culture as well as the Buddhist religion and the meticulous effort it took to carve this out is unrivaled. Third floor, Sir Christopher Ondaatje South Asian Gallery.
This item is a Glass Cinerary Urn with the cremated remains of a Roman child. The ROM is said to be haunted by ghosts; the Gray Lady, the ghost of Charles Trick Currelly (the first director of the ROM) himself, and the ghost of a child. Maybe this is the child that is said to roam the halls of the museum? Chalk that one up as another weird-yet-interesting find in the museum. Third floor, Eaton Gallery of Rome.
The replica model of The Athena Parthenos is simply divine. The real one was made out of gold and ivory and the extensive efforts to preserve it were just incredible. The real statue was unveiled in 438 BCE. Ivory is heavily dependent on humidity so not only was the pool of water in front of the statue an aesthetic piece, but also for the statue’s preservation. This replica is exact to scale based on the information and written records from the time. A truly impressive piece located in a corner of the third floor. Third floor, Gallery of Greece.
This is a picture of Marie de Medici, Queen of France (1573-1642). We always see the products of the Renaissance, the frescoes, the sculptures, the music, and the beautiful architecture. But it isn’t really mentioned how artists were able to pay for their creations. Cue the Medici family. They were the money. Marie de Medici’s father, the Grand Duke of Tuscany helped finance this explosion of artistry to spark the Renaissance. Third floor, The Samuel European Galleries.
And there you are, 10 stunning and historically significant pieces that are my personal favourites right here in Toronto, at the Royal Ontario Museum. Each exhibit is beautiful in its own distinct way. Each artifact and replica based off historical records have all withstood the test of time and its legacies have survived since the time it was created. The ROM is the melting pot of all distinct cultures, histories, and unique artifacts able to be viewed at an arm’s reach.
As part of his placement, Wesley will be blogging his adventures with our special feature “Wesley goes to the Museum”! He’ll also lead our initiative to digitize and blog our campers work from Museum 101.
Q:Hey! Love the blog, obviously. I was wondering where you get the photos that you post. Are they you're own, or do you have access to ROM photos? I'm asking because when I was there recently, I endeavoured to get some great ones from the archaeology and culture exhibits but the glass and overhead lights kind of thwarted my attempts. I solemnly swear to reblog and praise any anthro/archaeo photos you post! :) ps. You're the best. Internet bffs?
Except for the occasional reblog, or staff submitted photo, these are all mine. I really love to just go for a walk around the Museum, and take photos. Keeps me inspired!
I totally hear that, cases are the WORST for pictures. However, I’ve found that cases can be helpful, if you’re using your iPhone camera, for stability.
Thanks for the shout out! Coming this summer we have our very special Mesopotamia exhibit which sounds like something you’ll be SUPER interested in. I’m hoping to do a ton of behind the scenes photos like I did for #ultimatedinos!
Let me know when you’re next around the Museum and maybe we can go take some gallery photos together!