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Royal Ontario Museum Collections and Research Projects You Should Know

July 10, 2024 By CityPASS

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is one of the most renowned cultural institutions in Canada. Nestled in Toronto, this iconic museum offers a wealth of knowledge and discovery. Whether you're a history buff, an art enthusiast, an architecture aficionado, or a nature lover, the ROM's extensive collections and groundbreaking research projects promise an immersive experience that captivates and educates.

What Discoveries Are Unfolding at the Royal Ontario Museum?

Beyond being a repository of artifacts, the Royal Ontario Museum is a dynamic hub of ongoing research and discovery. Scholars and scientists at the ROM are continuously working on various projects that shed light on our natural world and cultural heritage.

Burgess Shale

The Burgess Shale is one of the most significant paleontological research projects at the ROM. This ancient fossil field, located in the Canadian Rockies, provides a window into early life on Earth. Dating back over 500 million years, the Burgess Shale is renowned for its exceptional preservation of soft-bodied organisms, which are rarely fossilized.

ROM scientists have been meticulously studying these fossils to understand the evolution of early marine ecosystems. Their discoveries have contributed to knowledge of the Cambrian explosion, a pivotal period in history, revealing the complexity and diversity of ancient organisms.

Conservation of Migratory Shorebirds

Another critical research endeavor focuses on the conservation of migratory shorebirds. These birds travel vast distances across continents, facing numerous threats along their migratory routes, including habitat loss and climate change.

ROM researchers are studying the migratory patterns, breeding habits, and ecological needs of these shorebirds to develop effective conservation strategies. By tracking their movements and analyzing environmental data, the ROM's research helps to safeguard these species and the delicate ecosystems they inhabit.

20th-Century Couture in Toronto

The ROM's exploration of 20th-century couture highlights Toronto's role in the fashion industry. This research delves into the history and impact of fashion designers and trends that shaped the 20th century, reflecting broader social and cultural shifts.

This project celebrates the artistic and cultural significance of fashion while also bringing awareness to the evolution of style and identity over the decades. The ROM's dedication to preserving and studying couture helps certify that these wearable works of art continue to inspire and educate future generations.

Must-See Treasures of the ROM Collections

The Royal Ontario Museum boasts a vast and diverse array of collections that span art, culture, and natural history. Each section of the museum offers visitors a chance to explore different facets of our world's rich heritage.

Art and Cultural Artifacts

The ROM is home to a staggering array of art and cultural artifacts worldwide, each telling its own unique story. The museum's collections span various periods and regions, offering you an in-depth look at human creativity and cultural evolution.

Ancient Egypt and Nubia

The ROM's Ancient Egypt and Nubia collection is one of the most extensive in North America, boasting over 71,000 objects. This assortment includes everything from mummies and coffins to daily life artifacts, revealing the grandeur of these ancient civilizations.

Highlights include intricately carved statues, jewelry, and tools that help you appreciate the religious practices, artistry, and daily routines of the Egyptians and Nubians. The collection celebrates the splendor of the pharaohs while also offering a glimpse into the lives of ordinary people in ancient times.

Ancient Greece & Rome

The Ancient Greece and Rome collection at the ROM features over 53,000 objects, representing a broad spectrum of classical antiquity. Visitors can admire exquisite sculptures, pottery, and coins that illustrate the social, political, and artistic developments of these influential civilizations.

Key pieces include marble statues depicting gods and heroes, intricately painted vases, and everyday items that were part of Greek and Roman life. This collection is essential if you're interested in the roots of Western culture and the enduring legacy of these ancient societies.


The ROM's Asia-Pacific collection, consisting of around 7,000 objects, covers a range of cultures from across the region, including Japan, China, Korea, and Southeast Asia. This collection includes stunning examples of ceramics, textiles, and religious artifacts that highlight the region's rich artistic and cultural heritage. These items showcase the aesthetic beauty and craftsmanship of the Asia-Pacific cultures and also reflect the philosophical and spiritual traditions that have shaped these societies over thousands of years.

Natural History Specimens

The Royal Ontario Museum's natural history collection is a window into the planet's diverse ecosystems and geological history. The collection features extensive specimens from various realms of natural science and invites you to explore the intricacies of life on Earth through carefully preserved samples and exhibits.

Bird and Fish Collections

The ROM's bird and fish collections unveil an incredible display of species from around the world. The bird collection includes specimens highlighting the diversity of avian life, with a focus on Canadian species. The fish collection features both freshwater and marine species, providing insights into aquatic biodiversity and evolutionary biology.

Insect and Arachnid Collections

The insect and arachnid collections at the ROM are among the most extensive in Canada, featuring several specimens that represent the incredible diversity of these creatures. The collection includes specimens from different geographical regions and habitats, emphasizing their ecological roles, evolutionary adaptations, and the vast array of insect life critical to ecosystems.

Meteorite, Mineral, and Gem Collections

The ROM's collection of meteorites, minerals, and gems is a spectacular display of the Earth's geological wonders. The meteorite collection offers a glimpse into the solar system's formation, featuring notable specimens such as the Tagish Lake meteorite, which helps you understand more about the early solar system's building blocks. The mineral and gem collections showcase the natural beauty and chemical complexity of Earth's crust, with highlights including vibrant emeralds, dazzling diamonds, and unique Canadian minerals like labradorite.

Prepare for an Immersive Experience at the ROM With CityPASS® Tickets

The Royal Ontario Museum offers you a journey through history, culture, and natural science, making it a must-visit destination in Toronto. Toronto CityPASS® tickets provide an easy and economical way to experience multiple top attractions in the city, including the ROM. With CityPASS® tickets, you can bypass the main ticket lines, giving you more time to immerse yourself in the museum's vast collections and fascinating exhibits.

Lodging in Toronto

Need lodging for your trip to Toronto? Use this map to find the right lodging for you:

Header Image Courtesy of Royal Ontario Museum

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