Ten More Museums on My Bucket List:
You can read part one here. As with my first list this will likely reflect my interest in archaeology as well as some other extra nerdy things.
1. Natural History Museum in London, England, UK - The Natural History Museum has collections of botanical, entomological, mineralogical, paleontological, and zoological specimens. Some of the specimens were actually collected by Charles Darwin. The museum is particularly famous for its astounding dinosaur fossils, as well as for its beautiful architecture. Entry to the museum is free but there is a charge for some special exhibits.
2. Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA - The Peabody Museum is associated with Harvard University and is the oldest and largest anthropological museum in the Americas. The museum specializes in North, Central, and South American archaeology and ethnography but there are also exhibits devoted to the rest of the world and there’s a permanent collection from the Pacific Islands. There’s also an Osteological Collection which has both human and non-human primate fossils, remains, and casts from all over the world.
3. National Palace Museum in Shilin, Taipei, Taiwan - The National Palace Museum holds an incredible and vast collection of Chinese artifacts dating back 8000 years and encompassing Chinese history from the Neolithic to the Qing Dynasty. Many of the pieces were collected by ancient Chinese emperors meaning they’re in exquisite condition. The museum is most notable for its antiquities, paintings and calligraphy, and rare books and documents.
4. The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia - The State Hermitage Museum is housed in several buildings including the Winter Palace which was former residence of the Russian emperors. The museum was founded by Catherine the Great and holds the largest collection of paintings in the world. Most people will go here for the Western European Art collection which covers the 13th through 20th centuries in paintings, sculptures and applied arts. However, I am most interested in the Prehistoric Art and Classical and Egyptian Antiquities. There’s also some Italian Renaissance work by Raphael and Michaelangelo I would love to see as well as paintings by Goya. The Knight’s Hall has a large collection of 15th-17th Century Western European arms and armor. If you’re into Russian art you’ll certainly find something you’ll like here.
5. Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany - The Pergamon Museum, like quite a few other European museums mentioned, is basically full of wondrous things excavated or stolen during the colonial age. This museum in particular houses an amazing collection of Near East treasures including the Ishtar Gate from ancient Babylon. There’s quite a lot of Islamic art and the reconstructed Pergamon Altar. However, part of the collection was taken by the Russians at the end of WWII and you can find some of it at the aforementioned State Hermitage Museum.
6. The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - Also known as the Penn Museum, The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is both an educational and research institution. The museum houses a collection of artifacts from the Mediterranean, Near East, Egypt, Mesopotamia, South and East Asia, Mesoamerica, and Africa. In particular, artifacts were brought directly to the museum from excavations in Ur and Tikal and there are also large Egyptian and Chinese exhibits. The Penn Museum even has its own magazine, Expedition. The museum is an important resource for the school’s students. You can buy tickets in advance online and general admission is $15 but it’s $10 if you’re a full-time student and remember to bring your college ID. The museum is also free for University of Pennsylvania students and staff as well as museum members and U.S. military personnel. There are discounts for children and seniors.
7. Naples National Archaeological Museum in Naples, Italy - The Naples National Archaeological Museum contains a large collection of Roman artifacts from Pompeii, Stabiea, and Herculaneum. All the works are of extremely high quality and it is the most important and prominent archaeological museum in Italy. There are also Greek and Egyptian antiquities. Interestingly there is a Secret Cabinet in the museum which hosts a collection of erotic and sexual items from Pompeii and Herculaneum. Visitors under the age of 14 have to be accompanied by an adult for this section.
8. Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Ontario, Canada - The Royal Ontario Museum is dedicated to both natural history and world culture. It’s notable for its collection of dinosaur fossils, minerals, meteorites, Near Eastern and African art, and artifacts related to European and Canadian history. There’s also a large collection of Art Deco items including clothing.
9. Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, Norway - There are two Viking Ship Museums, one in Norway and one in Denmark. I’m talking about the one in Norway. It is part of the Museum of Cultural History of the University of Oslo and houses archaeological findings from several Viking Age excavations. The main attraction are the Oseburg (pictured), Gokstad, and Tune ships but there are other various findings. This is a relatively small museum so it won’t take too long to see everything. However, it’s still a must for Viking fanatics.
10. International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago, Illinois. USA - Okay, this one’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but if you’re into medicine, anatmoy, forensics, biological anthropology, etc. this is a pretty cool museum. There are exhibits dealing with various aspects of both Western and Eastern medicine. If you’re not in the Chicago area and you’re looking for something a little bit larger you might want to check out the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia which I mentioned in my previous post or the Wellcome Collection in London which I will probably talk about in a future post.
We’d LOVE to have you out anytime!
Until then, here’s some ways to visit us virtually!
Saturday December 7th: Canadian Art Day
In our final Discovery Corner of 2013, we’ll learn about Canada’s rich artistic past! We’ll have special artifacts out from our collections to illustrate Canada’s long connection with art and a painting project to tap into your creativity.
- Meet long time ROM educator Beverley Galandzy who will show you rarely seen artifacts from our First Peoples collections. Learn about bark biting, bird stones and more and let them inspire your art at our activity station!
- Painting: Let the collections of the ROM inspire your own watercolour painting! Whether you like the animals up in the Schad Gallery or some of the objects in the First Peoples Gallery, grab a clipboard and stool and sketch all the details you’ll need to remember later, just like Paul Kane or the Group of Seven. Then you can take your sketches and expand them into a more intricate, and colourful painting!
- Canadian Art Scavenger Hunt: Explore the Canada and First Peoples Galleries and the amazing pieces of art on display!
- Event Page: Canadian Art Day!
- ROMKids: Canadian Painters & The Country That Inspired Them
- ROM: Paul Kane- Truth and Mysteries
- ROM Press: Paul Kane - French River Rapids
- Google Hangout: Interview with Kenneth Lister and Heidi Sobel
Written by @kironcmukherjee. Last update: December 4th, 2013.
Saturday November 30: Mars Day at the Museum!
Mars has captured our imaginations for centuries. As we look up into space we wonder… Is there life on Mars? If not now, was there ever?
Though it may currently seem to be a dead, dry planet, new research suggests that Mars was recently geologically active and may have been host to rivers, lakes and even oceans! What other undiscovered wonders does this planet hold?
Join us as we explore the mysterious planet Mars! We’ll talk about the role ROM research has played in deciphering Mars’ past, and create our own mini Mars rovers!
Programming runs 11 to 3!
Meet ROM Scientist Brendt Hyde!
- Meet ROM Mineralogy Technician Brendt Hyde. Brendt will be talking ROM research on Mars & space, discussing the Martian meteorites we have on display, and will even have some rarely seen meteorites out for visitors to see!
- Brendt Hyde has worked as a mineralogy research technician at the ROM since 2010.
- Brendt has had a long time interest in space and decided to do his Master of Science researching sulfate minerals similar to those found on the planet Mars. These minerals form when water interacts with rocks and analyzing them gives scientists clues about the properties of the water that was present on Mars. During his studies he developed an appreciation for the instruments used to analyze rocks and minerals. Shortly after showing up at the ROM, Brendt was able to help set-up the new analytical laboratory in Mineralogy. With this new equipment and a museum full of things to analyze, he felt right at home.
- Brendt’s interests have taken him into the world of meteoritics, where he looks at how extraterrestrial rocks have interacted with water, both here on Earth and elsewhere in the Solar System. Since being introduced to the world of meteorites, he has also begun studying melting processes in the early Solar System. This type of research gives us a better understanding of how asteroids and planets formed!
Learn about ROM Research on the Red Planet!
- Brendt is a co-author, along with mineralogy curator Kim Tait as well as scientists from many leading universities around the world, on the ROM’s recent study of Mars, “Solving the Martian meteorite age conundrum”. The study concludes that a martian meteorite, from the ROM’s collection, was created from a 200 million-year-old lava flow, and indicates that parts of Mars’ surface is geologically young! To put this in context, 200 millions years ago, while dinosaurs roamed our Earth, Mars’ was spewing lava, a distant cry to the dry, seemingly dead surface we see today!
- This study was run by an incredible team of scientists from the University of Wyoming, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Portsmouth in the UK and was led by Desmond Moser from the University of Western Ontario.
Make Your Own Mars Rover!
- While humans may not be able to visit Mars in person, we can at least send robots! Be inspired by rovers like Curiosity, Opportunity and more and, using household materials, design and create your own Mars rover!
Space Scavenger Hunt
- Did you know that we have rocks from the Moon and Mars on display everyday at the Museum? Explore these geological wonders and more with our space scavenger hunt!
The ROM received considerable coverage around the world for our study of Mars. Check out the links below and learn more about this incredible science!
- CBC: Meteorite reveals that Mars volcanoes erupted recently
- Scientific American: Solved: The Mystery of the Martian Meteorites
- Space: Martian Meteorites May Be Younger Than Thought, Studies Suggest
- Daily Mail: Is Mars still geologically active? Meteorites found on Earth could be four billion years younger than previously thought
- ROM Press: Nature Publishes Paper Authored By ROM Curator
- ROMKids: The Story of Martian Meteorite NWA 5298
- Mars: By NASA/JPL/MSSS [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
- Brendt Hyde: Brendt Hyde photo archive.
- Martian Meteorite NWA 5298: Kiron Mukherjee, 2013.
- Curiosity: By NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems Derivative, Julian Herzog, via Wikimedia Commons.
Written by @kironcmukherjee. Last update: November 26th, 2013.
Happy 2nd Tumblrversary!
It’s now been slightly over two years since our first post here on Tumblr. I originally signed ROMKids up with Tumblr for its ability to create and host content easily- whether it was amazing art created by our campers (like this stellar collections inspired mural), a featured gallery activation (like these Roman soldiers), or just something interesting (like dinosaurs at an airport). This was all supposed to be temporary, with the idea of migrating back to our website once it was updated. But this seemingly short term team up as turned into a full time operation.
So instead of rehashing all of that again, here’s some highlights from the year!
- ROMKids Goes Where: Our staff go on trips around the world and then write about it! Check out my New York adventure from June HERE!
- Regeneration Tour: Family goes on a one year tour of the world. The kids’ blog about it! Wraps up Summer 2014!
- Miranda’s Museum: The second season of this summer series, where staffer Miranda imagines pop culture through the eyes of her illustrated self. And lots of talking animals.
- Liz Butler Draws The ROM: Incredible artist draws, well, her favourite things at the ROM!
The rise of the guest blogger!
- Some of my favourite ROM archaeologists/educators have found their way onto the Tumblr this year, such as Daniel Kwan, April Hawkins & Robert Mason.
- Long time ROMKids staffer, and current Studio Assistant, Chris Miller has also made his mark on Tumblr. From his two #ROMKidsGoesWhere series, to his current long form blogs, his work is fun, witty, and full of content!
- Occasionally we take on a co-op or grad student at ROMKids, and part of their work with us is to blog. Last year Wesley and Rachel wrote some wonderful pieces about their time with us! We’re also seen many of mainstay staff step up and write, such as AJ, Mirelle, & Katryna!
Some of our favourite posts!
- This was the year of Chris Hadfield, and while he was up in space, we blogged about him down here on Earth. Check out some of our posts on him below!
-Reasons for Chris Hadfield
-A Few Final Thoughts On Chris Hadfield’s Gift To Education, Communication & Accessibility
- On the theme of space, while I’ve always been fascinated by the stars, this year I really fell hard for it. Check out some of my favourite space posts below!
-LADEE: 100 Days of Lunar Science
-Imagination Ignited: The Launch Of LADEE
- Any longtime reader knows how much I LOVE dinosaurs. So when we had #ultimatedinos here earlier this year, you knew I just had to write about it ALL the time! During #ultimatedinos final full month, I wrote a series called “28 Reasons To Visit #Ultimatedinos”. It was an ambitious project, that I learned much from, and had a ton of fun with!
- I’m perhaps most proud of my piece “Get outside with photography: Merging technology with nature”. Take your kids outside!
We want to hear from you!
- What’s been your favourite post this year?
- What would you like to see us write about?
- Let us know in the comments, twitter, or the ask button!
I want to say the biggest thank you for ALL OF YOU for joining us! It’s special to be able to take part in a community that cares so much about children’s education, science communication, and just generally awesome things!
Written by @kironcmukherjee. Last update: November 4th, 2013.
Liz Butler Draws The ROM: Hardwood Forest!
This week I went to the Mixed Wood Forest, in the Patrick and Barbara Keenan Family Gallery of Hands-on Biodiversity. This is one of my favourite exhibits from before the Museum renovation. It’s neat to see kids looking for all the creatures in the diorama, just like I used to do with my family when I was growing up! Finding the porcupine was always my favourite part. What is your favourite animal to find in the Mixed Woods?
The dappled lighting that makes the diorama more believable also makes it tricky to see some details while drawing, so I stuck with the bigger animals in the forest. I drew both the white-tailed fawn and doe, and the red fox. It’s so informative to see the animals, insects, fungi, and plants together, as they appear in forests around Ontario, and it is easy to imagine that you have been transported from the city into the woods!
- Liz Butler is an artist and teacher who loves natural history and museums. She loves drawing, painting, and making crafts of all kinds. She is happiest when she can find ways to combine art projects with science content.
- Liz’s Website – Liz Butler Draws
- Liz’s Blog – Saw Whet Studio
- More guest posts from Liz HERE!
- Do you like to sketch? Love museums? Are you a full time student in Canada? The ROM is yours to explore, FREE, every Tuesday! MORE!
- All images Liz Butler except for image 4 (Kiron Mukherjee).
Guest Post By Liz Butler. Last Updated: October 25th, 2013.
International Archaeology Day 2013
Thanks to everyone who came out for International Archaeology Day at the Museum. We had a ton of fun taking part in this world wide event! The @ROMAncient and @romkids crew have been working on this project since seemingly the end of last year’s IAD, so it was great to see it work out well!
The most important thing about this event is inspiring kids and their families in the wonderful field of archaeology. We brought out seasoned archaeologists from all over Toronto, as well as organizations with a specialty in the field, to communicate with visitors through objects, crafts, discussions and games. For the first time, we also engaged the public though a play test of video games designed in Toronto and based on the ROM’s galleries with our Ancient Arcade. It’s important to identify that children can be inspired through all sort of mediums, whether it’s a talk with a professional, a simulated archaeology dig or a video game.
What I loved the most was seeing families jump from each activity to the next, seemingly more interested in the event with every program they took part in!
Big thanks to all our special guests!
- The Archaeological Institute of America (Toronto chapter), Archaeological Services Inc., Ontario Archaeological Society, and the University of Toronto!
- Our reenactors, from the 1812 doctors starting Dr Dunnfore to our soldiers!
- The entire Gamercamp crew and all the game designers, for creating such awesome games. It seems the beta test was a success!
- All the ROM archaeologists that came out- Paul Denis, Kate Cooper, Dan Rahimi, and April Hawkins!
- A special thank you to the archaeology & anthropology tumblr community (including zomganthro) for all their support for this event!
Check out more of the archaeological fun we had!
— Kiron Mukherjee (@kironcmukherjee)
— gamercamp.ca (@gamercamp)
— Kris Abel (@RealKrisAbel)
— Hillary Connolly (@hillaryconnolly)
— Jaime Woo (@jaimewoo)
— Kiron/ROMKids (@ROMKids)
The games here are beta, but strong in concept. In Little Giza you build a pyramid to please a Pharaoh pic.twitter.com/C5CH5Fhtri— Kris Abel (@RealKrisAbel)
— Sonya Davidson (@TheCulturePearl)
The @ROMToronto Ancient Arcade is coming to a close! Such a fantastic time. Big thanks to the developers—their awesome work so appreciated!— gamercamp.ca (@gamercamp)
- All photos Kiron Mukherjee except for photo 1 (Michael Anderson, 2013) and photo 5 (April Hakwins, 2013).
Written by @kironcmukherjee. Last update: October 2st, 2013.
Found in Toronto: Toronto’s Archaeological Past
New World Archaeology Technician April Hawkins recently dug through her various cabinets, drawers and collections and pulled out a few stunning artifacts from Toronto’s past. All of these artifacts will go on special display for International Archaeology Day on Saturday October 19th.
Check out the photos above, and their corresponding descriptions below to learn more about Toronto’s ancient history!
1. Slate Projectile Point
The ROM’s oldest confirmed artifact from Toronto (though we have a 10,000 year old Holcombe point found near Bathurst & Eglinton). This is a Laurentian Slate Point approximately 7000 years old from Withrow Ave.
- Artifact Age: Middle Archaic period (8000-4500 Years Ago)
- Artifact Description: A Laurentian-Archaic slate projectile point with one barb broken.
- Collection History: This projectile point was collected in 1886 by David Boyle, the original curator of the Ontario Provincial Museum. His collection of 50,000 objects formed the backbone of the ROM collection when it was transferred to the ROM in 1914.
- Approximate Site Location: Withrow Ave.
Found on Quinn farm, Dufferin St, Toronto, sometime before 1896. 1 of 5 birdstones from Toronto!
- Artifact Age: Late Archaic-Early Woodland period (4000 BC-100 AD)
- Artifact Description: This birdstone was constructed from banded slate and biconically drilled. It would have been ‘pecked’ from a cobble and then biconically drilled with a bow drill, a wood bit and sand. A notch was removed to create the mouth and there are also notches at half-centimeter intervals along dorsal ridge. The eyes of the birdstone are raised but not flared.
- Collection History: The birdstone was found on Quinn Farm, Dufferin St., Toronto, sometime before 1896.
- Approximate Site Location: Dufferin and Bloor area
3. String of Beads
String of beads collected in 1884, at Baby Point, near Toronto’s Humber River. Can you spot the dark round glass bead with the white swirls near the middle? It may have been made in north Italy circa 1540!
- Artifact Age: Precontact-Contact period (1500-1700 AD)
- Artifact Description: These Precontact and early Contact European trade beads are made of bone, shell and glass. One of these beads might be traced back to Milan circa 1550.
- Collection History: The beads were collected in 1884 by J.H. Fleming and James Kirkwood on the Baby Farm on the banks of the Humber River, an important portage site, named Teiaiagon.
- Approximate Site Location: Baby Point
4. Small Ceramic Vessel
Tiny Late Woodland Ceramic Vessel, donated in 1949 by the Dunn family, reconstructed by the Dunn family prior to donation. Click the map to see where it was found in Toronto!
- Artifact Age: Late Woodland-Precontact period (1450-1550 AD)
- Artifact Description: This reconstructed “mini-pot” has incised shoulder decoration typical of Late Woodland period ceramics in Ontario. It was reconstructed by the Dunn family prior to donation.
- Collection History: This pot was donated in 1949 by L.M. Dunn along with 340 other artifacts from York County, Ontario.
- Approximate Site Location: West Downsview, close to Humber Valley
5. Copper Axe
Copper Axe, approximately 5000 years old, found at Avenue Road and Bedford Park, 30 cm below the surface. The ROM paid $4.50 for this and another artifact in 1933!
- Artifact Age: Middle - Late Archaic period (7000-3000 Years Ago)
- Artifact Description: This is an Archaic axe from the "Old Copper" tradition. This axe is likely made from very valuable and pure copper sourced from the Lake Superior basin and lake shores. Aesthetically enhanced functional objects like this axe were probably spiritually imbued and reflected the social prominence of the owner. Prestige objects like these were often included in graves.
- Collection History: For $4.50 in 1933 the museum purchased this and another stone tool from the same property. This axe was found 30 cm below ground by the homeowner.
- Approximate Site Location: Bedford Park Ave. at Avenue Rd.
6. Google map. View in more detail HERE.
- Join us Saturday October 19th for International Archaeology Day at the Museum! All the above artifacts will be on special display, and April will be in to talk about them!
- Photo and post by April Hawkins. Original post found HERE. Make sure to follow her on twitter HERE!
Guest Post By April Hawkins. Last Updated: October 13th, 2013.
Critical Hit: The magic of Dungeons & Dragons
“All successful people men and women are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, that goal or purpose.” - Brian Tracy
Unfortunately marginalized by mainstream culture, there are a number of embedded stereotypes associated with Dungeons & Dragons – a game commonly referred to as D&D. When most hear “Dungeons & Dragons”, a very similar scene probably appears in people’s minds – a group of awkward and socially-inept geeks convening around a table in a dimly lit basement; dice, miniatures, books, and papers are strewn across the table. With absolutely confidence, I am going to tell you why these stereotypes miss their mark.
But doesn’t D&D involve the use of miniatures, dice, papers, and dense books? Indeed, shows like The Big Bang Theory, Community, The IT Crowd, Fear of Girls, Futurama, and Key and Peele have, with relative accuracy, depicted the game and all of its associated paraphernalia. However, while many depictions of D&D in the media seem to correctly recreate it, in reality the game is far more complex. At its core, Dungeons & Dragons (and any other paper-based role-playing games) is an exercise in collaborative fantasy story telling that draws on the collective organization, spontaneity, forethought, and imagination of the players.
My passion for D&D has led to the creation of Elaran: A Dungeons and Dragons Campaign Setting. The term “campaign setting” refers to a fictional world that serves as the setting for role-playing game campaigns or individual adventures. Elaran is a passion project of mine that was inspired by the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, R. A. Salvatore, Mike Mignola, Guillermo del Toro, and Neil Gaiman. It’s something that I accidentally stumbled upon. But with the help of my many ROMKids D&D groups, it has become a project that I feel compelled to complete and that serves a purpose far greater than myself. Much like Ed Greenwood’s Forgotten Realm’s campaign setting, Elaran was designed for use in 3rd and 3.5-edition Dungeons & Dragons games. A world technologically similar to medieval Europe – Elaran is filled with magic, romance, mystery, and evil. Supernatural entities, mythological dragons, orc clans, demons, elves, dwarves, and perhaps even the occasional mummy inhabit this varied landscape containing unwelcoming forests, dark and long-forgotten trails, lost treasure, secret societies, fortresses, and ancient libraries. Will players seek new arms and armour at the “Archers Arsenal”? Or will they choose to enter combat with the sinister Lady Vale – the manipulative succubus secretly allied with King Gylan Freywil? The possibilities are endless and it’s all up to the player. This is what makes D&D so special. Imagination is everything.
In a previous article written for the ROMKids blog entitled “Video games? What about the magical power of imagination?”, I recalled how D&D has continued to provide me with a unique opportunity for self-reflection and inspiration. A veteran of the game for almost 14 years, much of what I’ve achieved can be attributed to the skills I developed playing Dungeons & Dragons at the ROM. Fantasy role-playing games provide us with an alternative way of looking at life. This game isn’t the nonsensical escape from reality that the misinformed masses see it as. It’s a tool that allows us to forge strong friendships, hone our inter-personal communication skills, learn problem solving, and – while at the ROM – learn a thing or two! If this hasn’t convinced you to pick up a book and give D&D a try, then consider that a few of these famous public figures who have affiliated themselves with D&D: Stephen Colbert, Moby, Vin Diesel, Matthew Lillard, Mike Myers, Patton Oswalt, Wil Wheaton, Jon Favreau, and Robin Williams. Dungeons & Dragons isn’t for geeks and nerds. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, it’s for the daring and brave. It’s for those with the hunger to explore the world around them and beyond and discover its truths.
I’d like to extend the deepest of gratitude to the Royal Ontario Museum for its continued support, Anthony Harrison for inspiring me to think outside the box, Gary Crawford for reminding me to seek more from life, Robert Mason, Kiron Mukherjee, and to Gary Gygax for creating a game that opened my eyes to a world unlike any other.
There’s so much more to the world than the average person can see - D&D opens your eyes to its endless possibilities.
Dreamers rule the world.
Always an adventurer,
- Daniel Kwan is a former long time camper, Assistant, and now Studio Instructor with our ROMKids programs. Daniel is currently a PhD student at UofT and is Kiron’s favourite Archaeologist after Indiana Jones. He can be followed at www.danielhkwan.com and on Twitter and Instagram.
- See other posts from Daniel HERE.
- Learn more about Saturday Morning Club and Dungeons & Dragons at the Royal Ontario Museum HERE.
Post By Daniel Kwan. Last Updated: October 15, 2013.