Royal Ontario Museum
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ROM Celebrates Centennial with Bold New Plans

New entrance, biodiversity gardens & outdoor performance space announced

Gallery of Early Life planned

$15M Love the ROM Centennial Campaign launched

Helga Schmidt and Hatch honoured as Campaign’s lead donors


Toronto, March 19, 2014 – The Royal Ontario Museum celebrated its Centennial today by announcing bold plans for four legacy projects that will transform how the ROM welcomes and interacts with its visitors. Leading today’s announcements were plans for the Welcome Project that will enhance the ROM’s interior lobby and create a new performance space which will function as the ROM’s first “outdoor gallery.” The proposed design will transform the visitor experience to the Museum from the inside and out—from the moment visitors arrive at the ROM on Bloor Street to how they discover and interact with its world-renowned collections and curators. The new outdoor space will be designed by acclaimed Toronto firm, Hariri Pontarini Architects and award-winning landscape architect Claude Cormier, and cover the area from Philosopher’s Walk east along Bloor Street West and around the corner of Queen’s Park. The proposed design will enhance the area with biodiversity gardens, community gathering areas and a performance space. Preliminary work on the new lobby experience to welcome and guide visitors through the ROM will begin shortly.

The four Centennial legacy projects announced today include plans to deliver the future Gallery of Early Life which will change the way visitors learn about the most ancient living things, a Director’s Fund for investment in Museum innovations such as digitizing the ROM’s collections for greater access, and a Programming Fund that will be used to animate the Museum’s eight Centres of Discovery. Janet Carding, Director and CEO of the ROM and Dianne Lister, President and CEO of the ROM Governors were joined at today’s celebrations by The Honourable David Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, The Honourable Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Bonnie Brooks, Chair of the ROM Board of Trustees and Victor Dodig, Senior Executive Vice President of CIBC along with Museum donors, patrons and members.

“For one hundred years the ROM has connected visitors to their world and each other,” said Janet Carding. “Inspiring curiosity, sharing discoveries, leading ground-breaking research and connecting communities has always been our goal. And, it’s as true today as it was when we opened in 1914. What’s exciting is that alongside our galleries we now share research and collections with mobile technology, digital animation, interactivity and more. Our Centennial legacy projects will create a dynamic museum for the future, revitalized green public space in the centre of Toronto and foster a greater sense of community around the ROM.”

The ROM’s year-long Centennial celebrations start today and this Spring include a spectacular look at China’s Forbidden City, a new Michael Awad show The Entire City Project that captures every corner of the ROM in his distinct style, a look at art nouveau in the Around 1914 exhibition and ROM Revealed Weekend, a unique opportunity for the public to go behind the scenes at the Museum on May 3 and 4. The ROM has partnered with CIBC as its Centennial partner supporting its year-long programming.

“For over a century, CIBC has been committed to the ROM’s growth both as an important part of the community and as a client,” says Victor Dodig, Senior Executive Vice-President, CIBC. “We’re proud to be the ROM’s Centennial Partner and support its vision of building and enriching our communities, connecting people to their world and to each other.”

The ROM’s Centennial Projects will be supported by the new Love the ROM philanthropic campaign announced today by Dianne Lister along with lead donors Helga Schmidt and Hatch, a multidisciplinary professional services firm. Love the ROM is a $15M campaign created to celebrate the Museum’s Centennial and create lasting legacies for the next generation. The four campaign priorities are:

The Welcome Project which will enhance the ROM’s interior lobby and create a new performance space to function as the ROM’s first “outdoor gallery”;

A Gallery of Early Life for the 21st century;

A Programming Fund to animate the ROM’s Centres of Discovery with more programming and events; and

A Director’s Fund to enhance the ROM for future generations

“Donors to the Love the ROM Campaign will play a personal role in shaping the future cultural landscape of Toronto and become partners in one of the most significant milestone projects in the ROM’s history. We are creating the next century together with support from generous philanthropic leaders and the community,” said Dianne Lister, President and CEO of the ROM Governors.

Philanthropy has been a cornerstone of the ROM since it first opened its doors to the public in 1914. As the ROM enters its next century, the strong tradition of philanthropic support for the Museum continues with a leadership gift of $3M from Helga and Mike Schmidt in support of the ROM’s future outdoor performance space. “My late husband would have been so proud to have witnessed our part in the transformation and beautification of this wonderful Museum,” said Helga Schmidt. A lover of operetta and live performance, Helga is a benefactor of many cultural institutions in Europe and has been vital in galvanizing support for the Love the ROM campaign.

Hatch has also generously contributed a leadership gift in support of the Director’s Fund, a Managing Director of ROM Earth & Space, a university graduate and post doctorate fund, and the acquisition of the Kirwin Collection, a celebrated collection of 22,000 ores and minerals. “Hatch is proud to invest in the future of education and learning initiatives at the ROM,” says John Bianchini, CEO and President of Hatch, and member of the ROM Board of Governors. “Hatch’s commitment to innovation and excellence begins with inspiring early learning in educational institutions such as the ROM.”

The City of Toronto marked the ROM’s birthday by declaring March 19, 2014 Royal Ontario Museum Centennial Day and the CN Tower will light-up this evening in the ROM’s signature royal purple.

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The Renaissance ROM Campaign is one of the most successful cultural fundraising campaigns in Canadian history. An astounding $416 million was raised in support of Renaissance ROM, including funds for the capital campaign, related priorities, new acquisitions and operating funds. The amount of artifacts and specimens on display at the ROM doubled as a result of this ambitious project.

The Renaissance ROM campaign created over 300,000 square feet of new and renovated public spaces and galleries, including the James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs, Life in Crisis: Schad Gallery of Biodiversity and The Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Gallery of China. New spaces for schools and teachers were also created, including classrooms and studios for children and students, enhancing the ROM's reputation as a leading educational facility in Ontario.

The ROM was dramatically re-energized with the addition of the Daniel Libeskind-designed Michael Lee-Chin Crystal. This new building was recognized as one of the new seven wonders of the architectural world by Condé Nast Traveler magazine, and sparked city-wide excitement that fundamentally altered Torontos cultural landscape.

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