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Plan Your Visit: The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)

February 28, 2024 By CityPASS

At Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), the rich cultures of the world are celebrated and displayed alongside fascinating artifacts from civilizations past. See the fossilized skeletons of colossal dinosaurs, beautiful Chinese temple art, and so much more.

ROM has an extensive collection of over 13.5 million artworks, artifacts, and specimens from around the world and across the ages. ROM is also the most visited museum in Canada. With such fascinating galleries and exhibitions to explore, ROM is most certainly worth checking out...probably more than once.

A Gallery Guide, Tips and Tricks for a Better Visit

With so much to see, knowing what exhibits are on each floor of the ROM will help streamline your adventure so you can spend more time exploring and less time backtracking. Before you begin your adventure, make sure to snag a floor plan at the front reception area.

The museum is a combination of three distinct designs; the original building which opened to the public in 1914, the art deco themed addition of the 1930’s, and the beautiful Michael Lee-Chin Crystal extension, which opened in 2007. The original stone building is graceful and powerful in design and speaks to the long history of ROM while the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal extension represents an edgy leap into the 21st century.

The museum galleries stretch across five main floors. Level B2 is for temporary exhibitions, Level 1 is home to the Daphne Cockwell Gallery dedicated to First Peoples art & culture, as well as several East Asian galleries, Level 2 is dedicated to natural history (this is where you'll see the dinosaurs!), Level 3 explores world cultures even further, and includes a spectacular ancient Egyptian collection, and Level 4 features additional temporary exhibitions to enjoy.

The Permanent Collections

ROM’s permanent collection is split into three sections: World Cultures, Natural History, and the Hands-On galleries.

World Cultures At ROM

Daphne Cockwell Gallery Dedicated to First Peoples Art & Culture

This is one of ROM’s premiere cultural spaces, featuring more than one thousand works of art and cultural heritage. The continuing First Peoples legacy comes alive in this multi-layered gallery.

Bishop White Gallery of Chinese Temple Art

The massive mural, The Paradise of Maitreya, is the magnificent heart of the gallery. Over seven centuries ago, this ornate mural covered the wall of a Buddhist monastery, a monastery that does not exist today. This gallery is a visitor favorite, perpetuating in its space three of the world's best-preserved murals and beautiful Buddhist and Daoist sculptures dating from the 13th to 15th century CE.

Galleries of Africa: Egypt

ROM holds a truly special collection of important objects from Ancient Egypt. In this gallery, you'll see the ornately decorated sarcophagus of Djedmaatesankh, a court musician who died close to 850 BCE, a variety of mummified animals, and the fascinating Punt Wall, which depicts the military expedition to Punt that occurred in 1482 BCE. In addition to the spiritual artifacts and mummies that held great importance in the death rituals of ancient Egyptians, you'll also examine the objects of everyday, including the technology and tools used by the ancient Egyptians. ROM showcases the most important Egyptian collection in Canada.

Natural History

The James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs welcomes visitors to the Mesozoic era to examine the hundreds of specimens ranging from the gigantic Barosaurus skeleton to the fossilized plants and marine life that flourished right alongside dinosaurs.

The Teck Suite of Galleries: Earth's Treasures is a sparkling gem of a gallery featuring an amazing collection of, well, sparkling gems. Examine meteorites, minerals, and gems that represent over 4.5 billion years of geological history. The Vale Gallery of Minerals, the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Gallery, and the Gallery of Gems and Gold give visitors a first-hand look at Earth's natural formations and the process of mining, its impact on society, and the technology that has contributed to the advancement of mining. You can even touch a wall made of pure gold!

Schad Gallery of Biodiversity

The Schad Gallery of Biodiversity iterates the importance of biodiversity on the planet and how humankind impacts other life on this planet. This gallery will explore sustainability, conservation, and biodiversity as vital in preserving this planet for generations to come. Multimedia and an array of specimens make this gallery insightful and fascinating for guests of all ages.

Hands-On Galleries

The Patrick and Barbara Keenan Family Gallery of Hands-on Biodiversity provides children and youth with an opportunity to explore the relationship between plants, animals, and humans firsthand with live and fossilized specimens and interactive displays.

WonderWorks, where play meets learning, is a new space that invites young children to experiment and connect with the Museum in a playful, interactive, and fun environment.

ROM Temporary Exhibitions

What makes ROM an eternally fascinating attraction is its continual effort to bring in new and exciting content. ROM hosts some of the world’s best exhibitions! A list of current exhibitions can be found on the ROM website.

Royal Ontario Museum Hours

For current hours of operation, please refer to the attraction's website. For those hungry learners, Druxy's ROM Cafe offers a variety of food including sandwiches and healthy alternatives as well. The museum is least crowded on weekdays in the afternoon, but you'll want to dedicate at least two- three hours at the museum, depending on your thirst for knowledge.

Royal Ontario Museum Tickets

Buying online gets you express entrance into the museum. Special exhibitions such as the Vikings or Christian Dior exhibitions are not included in general admission. CityPASS® tickets provide savings on five of Toronto's best attractions, including the Royal Ontario Museum, for those visitors looking to see the best of the city.

Royal Ontario Museum Autism Services

Prepared in collaboration with Autism Ontario, the ROM has prepared an online guide with tips and sensory notes for visitors. Designated quiet spaces are also available. The museum strives to provide the best possible experience to all visitors and accommodations are available for a host of guest needs. The full guide includes information on parking, attractions and even quiet spaces within the facility. Museum staff are also available to assist if needed.

For full details on the museum’s accessibility offerings, please visit the museum’s official website.

Royal Ontario Museum Parking

Making your way through the museum and seeing all you want to see is a challenge all on its own. Finding affordable parking and transportation is an entirely different beast. ROM's website lists several options for those arriving by public transportation. If you're driving to the museum and are in need of parking, there are several parking lots nearby. Many visitors in the past recommend using public transportation. The Toronto Transit Commission subway lines and bus routes will get you close to the museum entrances. For more information, check out the Toronto Transportation Commission website.

Nearby Lodging

To get the most out of your stay in Toronto, we recommend finding lodging near Toronto's top attractions like Royal Ontario Museum. Use this map to find the right lodging for you:

Header image © AJ Messier Photography. Royal Ontario Museum—Gallery of Byzantium.

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