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Royal Ontario Museum is Toronto’s must-visit destination this spring

Apr 22, 2016 | Arts & Culture

This spring, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is Toronto’s essential destination for fascinating exhibitions, programs and events. Highlights include “Tattoos: Ritual. Identity. Obsession. Art” and “CHIHULY,” opening on June 25. Featured events include the launch of the ninth season of the ROM’s Friday Night Live (FNL) program presented by Ford of Canada, and ROM Daytime events with lectures on Mexican culture, Judaism and more.


Tattoos explores the fascinating history and evolution of tattooing and offers insights into ancient practices, histories, meanings and the revival of the global phenomenon of body art. Tattoos is specially priced and on display until Sept. 5. The exhibition is complemented by the Tattoos Signature Lecture Series, including:

May 10: Tunniit: Retracing the Lines of Inuit Tattoos
7 p.m., $18 ROM Members, $20 General Public
Signy and Cléophée Eaton Theatre, Level 1B
In this engaging and personal documentary, filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril examines the lost practice of tattooing amongst Inuit women in Northern Canada. Following the screening, Arnaquq-Baril discusses the challenges faced by these communities as they reconcile ancient and colonial traditions. Ticket includes a post-event reception with one host drink.

May 26: Borneo: Explorations of Nature and Culture
11 a.m., free with RSVP
Signy and Cléophée Eaton Theatre, Level 1B
ROM Curator Chris Darling discusses the exploration of the biological and cultural diversity of Borneo, the world’s third largest island, including reference to historical and modern tattooing traditions.   

CHIHULY, opening on June 25, presents groundbreaking explorations in color, light and form by Dale Chihuly, a pioneer of the studio glass movement and considered to be one of the world’s foremost artists working in glass today.

A Third Gender: Beautiful Youths in Japanese Prints opens on May 7 and features woodblock prints, samurai armor, screen paintings, lacquerwork and illustrated books, and explores issues of gender telling a pivotal story of sexuality in Japan’s Edo period (1603-1868). A Third Gender will be on display until Nov. 27.

Also on display at the ROM are ¡Viva México! Clothing & Culture, closing May 23, and Point & Punch: Historical Editorial Cartoons of J.W. Bengough (1851-1923) and Sam Hunter (1858-1939), closing on Sept. 18.


Friday Night Live (FNL), Presented by Ford of Canada
Toronto’s favorite party, #FNLROM returns on Friday, April 29, for nine weeks of food, live music and gallery activations. A specially ticketed event for adults 19+, #FNLROM runs every Friday between April 29 and June 24, from 7 to 11:30 p.m. Highlights include the season debut #ROMink event, shining a spotlight on Tattoos, along with Indigenous NOW (June 3, 2016), and the spectacular Colour ROM proud finale, celebrating CHIHULY (June 24, 2016).

Symposiums and Lectures

April 14
ROM Daytime: Earth Day: Bird Research and Conservation
11 a.m., free with RSVP
Signy and Cléophée Eaton Theatre, Level 1B
Mark Peck, ROM ornithologist, gives a special talk on bird habitats and populations. Lecture is followed by a reception with coffee, tea and treats.

April 16
Modern Mexico: Fusions, Fashion and Folk Art
9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., $27 ROM Members, $30 General Public
Signy and Cléophée Eaton Theatre, Level 1B
A full day dedicated to conversations about Mexico’s rich visual culture. Join speakers Humberto Spindola, James Oles and Chloë Sayer among others, as they examine the extent of Mexico’s global influence.

April 19
Annual Allan Baker Memorial Lecture: From Dinos to DNA
7 to 9 p.m., $18 ROM Members, $20 General Public
Signy and Cléophée Eaton Theatre, Level 1B
Birds are the living descendants of dinosaurs. Their DNA, comprised of over one billion DNA letters and thousands of genes, bears traces of their dinosaur ancestry. Join Harvard’s Scott V. Edwards as he explores modern genomics over tens of millions of years. Event includes a post-event reception with one host drink.

May 15
Judaism: From Ancient Mystery to Modern Monotheism
10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., $72 ROM Members, YPC and RPC Members; $72 Teachers and Students; $80 General Public
ROM Education Classrooms, Level 1
Explore the origins of Monotheistic traditions in this day-long workshop. From Mesopotamia and Egypt to Pompeii, the ROM’s galleries and collections will inspire you to delve deeper into the ancient origins of the Jewish tradition. Course includes mature content and is recommended for guests over the age of 18.

ROM Tours

Daily tours of the ROM are offered to the public between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. (many are free with ROM General Admission). Visitors can join general tours, specific gallery tours or tours of special exhibitions, including Tattoos and CHIHULY.

Please visit www.rom.on.ca for event information and to purchase tickets.


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