Sunday, January 31, 2010

Night at the Museum

I went to the Royal Ontario Museum this past Friday night. Since I became a member back in November, I try to go at least once a month. I decided to go on Friday night since (a) I was running out of days in January, (b) they are open late on Friday nights, and (c) it's usually quieter then. I almost talked myself out of going, as I was feeling a little weary by the time the end of the work day rolled around on Friday but I went anyway. The good news was, I seemed to get a second wind by the time I got there, having left my car at the subway station and taken the train downtown. I had just enough energy to last me through my 3 hour visit, which included a quick dinner in their lovely cafeteria. Any longer and I'd get "museum fatigue" regardless of how well rested I was!

I got there in time for the 6 p.m. tour. They have volunteer guides, or docents, give tours several times a day. It's not always the same person and they usually cover different items, although this time around, they did talk about one or two things that I'd heard about when I took the tour with someone else back in December, but that's okay, it was good to hear it from a different perspective and while they might have been talking about the same item, the information provided was different and just as interesting.

My visits in November and December had been for specific events - an all day seminar about embellishments, Canadian style in November: ( and the Vanity Fair portrait exhibit in December: ( This time around, I wandered about the various floors of the museum and just looked at whatever caught my eye. I wasn't really in the mood for ancient culture or history so besides the gem exhibit, I ended up with the dinosaurs and the animals.

I spent a lot of time in the Biodiversity section. Did you know the ROM has over 4 million species in their collection? The way they have the animals displayed in this section is really interesting. I didn't know they had samples in drawers under the window displays until I saw this young boy pull one out. It was sad to see these pretty little birds dead and stuffed but at the same time, it was cool to be able to look at them up close, they were so beautiful. I had to chuckle when he pulled out the next drawer, as he gasped and jumped back when he realized it contained several samples of (fortunately dead) bats of various sizes.

I especially liked this room filled with different types of birds and the way they have them "flying" all together, which you would never see in real life. It's fascinating to be able to see them up close, to admire their beauty and compare sizes and feathers and colouring. And check out this albatross, it's huge!!!

To end my night at the museum, I took the above photos outside the building - both the ornate door and the beautiful stained glass are located at what used to be the front entrance. That's about all I could do outside though, my camera battery was pretty much dead by then and it was wayyyy too cold to linger.

All in all, it was another fascinating visit and I'm looking forward to my next visit.

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