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The ROM Prepares to Welcome Guests Back in July

Ready with a lineup of captivating exhibitions and fascinating galleries, ROM counts down the days to reopening 

It’s time for a return to culture. The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is getting ready to reopen its doors and welcome visitors back into the Museum to enjoy art, culture and nature in our expansive galleries and exhibition spaces. The Museum will open with a wide-ranging slate of new exhibitions, including a new, highly anticipated ROM-original exhibition on great whales, a must-see contemporary art show, and a fashion and textiles display of Indian cotton from the Museum’s world-renowned collection. And in the months to come, more exhibitions and activities will be added to the ROM’s exciting schedule. 

In addition to Great Whales: Up Close and Personal, Elias Sime: Tightrope, and The Cloth that Changed the World: India’s Painted and Printed Cottons—all available on opening day—visitors can also enjoy the Museum’s extensive selection of galleries, each filled with hundreds of stories that will provoke, delight and inspire audiences.  

The Museum’s large physical footprint and wide-open spaces, combined with timed ticketing, limited capacity, and comprehensive safety measures, offer a safe and welcoming place for people to reconnect and re-engage with culture this summer. ROM Members will have a chance to enjoy advance access to the Museum prior to its opening.  

Visitors can expect an opening date to be announced soon as part of Step Three of the Province of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen plan. Based on the province’s plan and its current targets, we are projecting a public opening date of July 22, with ROM members offered the chance to enjoy advance access to the Museum on July 21. Stay tuned to the ROM’s social channels for details. 


Great Whales: Up Close and Personal
Reopening day to March 20, 2022: In this stunning new ROM-original exhibition, audiences are immersed into the world of Atlantic Canada’s majestic underwater giants. This enthralling exhibition offers an “up close and personal” opportunity for visitors to learn about three species of great whales that swim off the East Coast of Canada: the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, the sperm whale, and the largest animal ever to have existed on Earth, the blue whale. Great Whales is presented in the ROM’s largest exhibition space, Garfield Weston Exhibition Hall, and is supported by lead exhibition patrons Nita and Don Reed & Family and supporting sponsor Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism.  

Elias Sime: Tightrope
Reopening day to September 6, 2021: Last chance to visit this new must-see exhibition featuring the vibrant, large-scale artworks of acclaimed contemporary Ethiopian artist Elias Sime. Presented in the ROM’s Roloff Beny Gallery, Tightrope features 23 intricately woven artworks made with found materials such as motherboards, circuits and electrical parts that deliver timely messages about human connection, ecological sustainability, and the tensions between nature and technology. This Canadian-exclusive exhibition is organized by the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College, Clinton, New York with support from the Canada Council for the Arts.   

The Cloth that Changed the World: India’s Painted and Printed Cottons
ongoing to January 2, 2022: Featuring textiles on display for the first time in 50 years, this ROM original exhibition presents the ROM’s world-renowned collection of Indian chintz to the public through themes of trade, craft, human rights, and the environment. It is complemented by companion installation Florals: Desire and Design (closes on January 3, 2022).  


Breaking the Frame: New Directions in Photo History 
August 14, 2021 to January 16, 2022: Making its exclusive North American debut at the ROM, this extraordinary photography exhibition takes a fresh look at the art of photography, and explores the rich diversity of the photographic practice. Breaking the Frame features more than 90 original and vintage prints that inspire new and unconventional approaches to photo history, including: one of the earliest photographs taken by a female artist; unusual subject matter from the biggest names in photography, and portraits from photo studios in West Africa and India. Featuring many accomplished artists of the 19th and 20th centuries – from Malick Sidibe and Florence Henri to Lang Jingshan, Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Henry Fox Talbot, Robert Frank, and Dorothea Lange – Breaking the Frame offers a global perspective on the medium that pushes our understanding beyond the conventional. The exhibition is organized by Curatorial Exhibitions and drawn from the Solander Collection. Phillip Prodger, former Head of Photographs at the National Portrait Gallery, London, is guest curator of the ROM’s presentation. 

Unmasking the Pandemic: From Personal Protection to Personal Expression 
September 18, 2021 to February 21, 2022:  Showcasing the power of artistic ingenuity and human creativity that emerged in the face of a global crisis, this exhibition profiles the powerful messages, exquisite artistry and stories of support, substance, and community that face masks reveal. More than 60 original facemasks tell the stories of makers, cultures, and communities in this new and original ROM exhibition. Free to the public, Unmasking the Pandemic invites visitors to discover the unique—and universal—reflections and reactions of mask makers and wearers.   

#MyPandemicStory: Portraits of the Pandemic Through the Eyes of Youth 
October 9, 2021 to February 21, 2022: The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound effect on how kids and teens learn, play, create, communicate and so much more. In April 2021, the ROM launched #MyPandemicStory, a first of its kind, crowd-sourced exhibition that called on Ontario kids and teens from ages 4-18 to submit original works capturing their experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Free to the public, #MyPandemicStory represents a selection of those works, capturing the holistic pandemic experience through the lens of young people and providing visitors a chance to reflect on their own experiences.  


Austin Clarke: Recognizing a Literary Great
Reopening day to February 22, 2022: Honouring renowned novelist, essayist, and activist Austin Clarke (1934–2016), this new installation features an original portrait by contemporary artist Neville Clarke and highlights the legacy of one of Canada’s preeminent literary figures.   

New ROM Audio Guides and Tours: 
Available on a new app-based platform and providing a fresh and more widely accessible way to experience the Museum, a new suite of audio guides rolling out this summer will deepen and enhance the ROM experience for visitors. Featuring enhanced storytelling formats, new guides for permanent galleries include Museum Highlights, Canada, First Peoples, Dinosaurs and Korea Gallery, available in English, French and Korean. Also available are enhanced audio guides created for Elias Sime: Tightrope and The Cloth That Changed the World. Permanent gallery audio guides were generously supported by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea. 

Outdoor Programming: 
The ROM’s Helga and Mike Schmidt Performance Terrace and the Reed Family Plaza will host two Summer in the Park virtual concerts this summer, which will be live-streamed on @Bloor-Yorkville’s Instagram channel. Musicians Rob Tardik (July 15) and David Leask (August 12) will be featured.  

ROM at Home:
Throughout the closure, the ROM has continued to offer #ROMatHome programming, including virtual tours, ROM Field Trips, educational activities, magazine articles, and live videos on the Museum’s social media channels and website. Tune into #ROMatHome for a slate of new programming events.  

Visitors will see a packed slate of announcements in the months ahead, including new installations, the ROM’s first new gallery opening in a decade and the return of an annual favourite.  

Full details on what to expect when visiting the ROM are found at rom.on.ca/welcomeback.    


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