Royal Ontario Museum

The Royal Ontario Museum is located at the corner of Queen’s Park and Bloor Street in Toronto. The building of the ROM with its many alterations is a city landmark and in itself something of a museum. It has had five major additions in its life span ranging from the original construction in 1914 to the radical Michael Lee-Chin Crystal addition in 2007 by Daniel Libeskind. Each addition not only illustrates the clear changes through architecture of the economies and social values of the times, but also the evolution of what a museum is. In 1914 museums were still a relatively new idea, and particularly in North America. Museums began in the mid 1700’s as private collections and were often merely galleries in the homes of the wealthy. Each expansion represents the vision and direction of the Museum’s board of directors. Much can be told about the story of the ROM simply by observing the building that holds and that very much is the ROM. From the simple first portion of the Museum and its humble beginnings to the highly decorated 1933 expansion build during the depression. The 1984 addition represents the changes in direction and perception of what a museum was and could be during the 1970’s and the most recent and bold Crystal demonstrating even further the changes in perceptions and limits of a museum.


Browne, Kelvin. Bold Visions: The Architecture of the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum, 2008. Print

Dickson, Lovat. The Museum Makers: The Story of the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993.


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