The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) recently announced that it welcomed an impressive 1.34 million visitors through the museum’s doors in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019. This makes the ROM once again the most-visited museum in Canada.
“We are delighted that so many people are enjoying the ROM from here and around the world,” says Josh Basseches, ROM Director & CEO. “We believe museums are more important than ever as community builders, trusted sources of knowledge, and as places that inspire learning and the exchange of ideas. The great enthusiasm for the ROM is a testament to the relevance of our exhibitions, collections, and programs in people’s lives today.”
The strong attendance levels, which have contributed to the ROM’s ranking as #7* among North America’s top 10 art museums, were driven by high overall general attendance to the museum’s extensive galleries and collections and a robust slate of headline exhibitions and original programming.
“Congratulations to the ROM on another impressive year,” said Michael Tibollo, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “The ROM is one of Ontario’s great cultural institutions and I’m pleased that people from across the province and beyond continue to experience all that the museum has to offer.”
Some of the highlights on the exhibition schedule included Spiders: Fear & Fascination, which drew 223,800 visitors, Wildlife Photographer of the Year, a stunning annual showcase of the world’s best nature photography, and the debut of a newly discovered dinosaur in the ROM original exhibition, Zuul: Life of an Armoured Dinosaur, which continues until May 20.
Visitors were also drawn to a number of timely and topical exhibitions, which included Being Japanese Canadian: reflections on a broken world, Modernism on the Ganges: Raghubir Singh Photographs, and #MeToo & the Arts, a series of public engagements that explored the intersection of museums, art and the #MeToo movement. In addition, the ROM invited visitors into the worlds of design, technology and culture with Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion and immersive installation Philip Beesley: Transforming Space.
The year also marked an important milestone for the ROM with the opening of the Daphne Cockwell Gallery dedicated to First Peoples art & culture as free of charge to the public.
With over 400 programs and special events scheduled throughout the year, the ROM’s extensive programming lineup offered something for everyone. In addition to perennial favourites ROM for the Holidays and March Break at the ROM, the museum’s signature speaker series, ROM Speaks, explored topics as diverse as oceans and whales, space exploration and the future of South Asian contemporary art, to sold-out audiences.
In addition to overall attendance growth, demand for memberships was higher than ever, with over 127,000 members, representing a six per cent increase from the previous year.
Members and visitors alike are currently enjoying Treasures of a Desert Kingdom: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India, and this summer, the ROM will delight visitors with the presentation of two new exhibitions. In June, the Museum will debut In the Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, an exceptional collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age, and in July, visitors will be introduced to It’s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection, an extraordinary collection of horror and sci-fi movie posters from the famous Metallica guitarist. In the fall, guests will be invited to sink their teeth into Bloodsuckers, an exploration of the interconnected world of blood-feeding organisms, and the myths, legends and pop culture they inspire.
This spring, ROM announced “3rd Monday Nights Free”, a new initiative that invites visitors to experience the museum free of charge, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the third Monday of each month. 3rd Monday Nights Free is made possible by TD Bank Group through its corporate citizenship platform The Ready Commitment, and with the generous support of The Bennett Family Foundation.
“3rd Monday Nights Free builds on our ongoing commitment to open the doors of the museum to as many visitors as possible,” says Josh Basseches, ROM Director & CEO. “The ROM is a vital part of the cultural and community life of our city and province, and with the launch of this new initiative, visitors now have a chance to enjoy a night at their Museum at no cost. We’re grateful to TD Bank Group and The Bennett Family Foundation for making this possible.”
With complimentary access and extended hours, visitors are invited to explore art, culture, and nature in the museum’s 40 galleries one evening every month. Exhibitions are specially ticketed and not included with admission. Information on 3rd Monday Nights Free is available at rom.on.ca