ROM PARTY 2005.12.21
Benefactors and patrons (plus guests) were invited to an annual "Festive Party" on Wednesday afternoon to an exclusive preview of the ROM's historical Philosopher's Walk Building to the West and the Weston Wing to the North-east. ROM staff and volunteers (plus guests) received an invitation to attend in the evening. Ten renovated galleries will officially open on Boxing Day of 2005.
The area with the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal will not be completed until the Fall of 2006, when the new museum entrance will be formally moved to Bloor Street. The replicas of the old oak doors of the Queen's Park entrance, which many recall from over 50 years ago, will only be used for special events. On this occasion, however, we were directed to a canopy-covered walk leading to the Southern subterranean entrance.
Looking East towards the foyer on the main floor, I was comforted to know that the two West Coast Indian totem poles still stood between the stairs on either side. I noticed that the Gift Shop and Druxy's Coffee Shop were no longer there, but they were replaced by a Gallery of Canada's First Peoples. I observed immediately that the displays focussed upon the collections. Gone were the dioramas. Everything was going to be as transparent as the Crystal. I recognized a good number of artifacts from past displays, even though the displays were definitely not complete.
I wondered why some wee recognition had not been given to the late Professor Norm Emerson of the ROM, who is acknowledged as the founder of the Ontario Archaeology Society because of the student archaeological expeditions he organized at Indian sites just north of Toronto during the early 1950's.
Ah, the dinosaur exhibits are not like they used to be. That leads me to another thought: I would like to know why this marvellous building deserves the title "Royal Ontario Museum"?
I recognized part of the old Chinese wing for which the ROM was famous. As evidence of the change, there is only one reproduction in the entire gallery . . . the portico of a Chinese house with its gold leaf and bright colours. Chinese artists were specially imported to do this work.
The area around the reinstalled Ming Tomb was particularly crowded. When the exhibit is finally opened to the public, I wouldn't be surprised if some imp didn't try to ride the camels.
Note that the scrim covers the windows (overlooking Philosophers' Walk) behind the press group around the statue in the first photo; normally they will descend automatically to protect the Ming ceramics, Qing lacquerware (clustered within tall glass Glasbau Hahn cases) towards the middle of the room as well as the three murals in the Bishop White Gallery. Two of the three magnificent Chinese temple wall paintings are behind the statues in the second photo.
These exhibits from the Chinese collection are well worth a few more visits.
The Chinese Galleries lead directly to the Prince Takamado Gallery of Japan. The middle photo shows Pat and a ROM acquaintance in front of a palanquin within its transparent case.