The Royal Ontario Museum uncorked its summer blockbuster this week with previews ahead of the public opening on Saturday (June 23). Called Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants from Gondwana, the show was curated, designed, and produced by the ROM and will tour to other international museums after it closes in the fall. Ultimate Dinos focuses on creatures found in the southern hemisphere (Gondwana), many of which have only been discovered in recent years and have never been seen before. The exhibition is enhanced with touch screens and activation sensors that trigger animations as visitors approach them. iPhone and iPad apps have been deployed that use “augmented reality” technology to bring transit shelter ads to life. Technology and dinosaurs? Kids are going to love it!
The Royal Ontario Museum uncorked it’s latest blockbuster this morning with a media preview of Maya: Secrets of Their Ancient World. The exhibition, which opens Saturday, explores the fascinating empire that thrived in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula from 250 – 900 CE. Nearly 250 artifacts, including large sculptures, ceramics, masks and jewellery, have been assembled from museums in Mexico and the US, as well as from the ROM’s own permanent collection. Objects, models and videos reveal numerous aspects of Maya culture, which was shrouded in mystery until the end of the 19th century. Most of the artifacts have never been seen before in Canada and some of the finest pieces have only recently been excavated. Maya: Secrets of Their Ancient World runs until April 9, 2012.
As part-time jobs go, being a historic museum interpreter is anything but run of the mill and that’s why Adrianna Prosser likes it. “It’s so much better than ‘would you like fries with that,’ ” she says. “It’s an amazing job.”
Prosser’s training as performing artist has come in very handy in her role as a docent but the actress has taken it a step further and actually created three site-specific plays like her latest effort, The Secret Life of a Schoolmistress, playing at North York’s Zion Schoolhouse this Friday and Saturday (November 4 & 5 at 8 pm).
“My supervisors have really nurtured where I’m coming from as a performing artist,” says the writer/performer. “It’s a lot of work to do for just two performances but there’s always the hope of a re-mount and we sometimes develop our plays into school programs. It’s really about driving a need for further research because as interpretive staff giving tours over and over again, it can get a little boring.”
Many artists would question the value of a residency that didn’t come with some kind of financial reward but not James Ridyard. In fact, it was Ridyard who proposed the terms of his stay at High Park’s Colborne Lodge museum last winter and it wasn’t money he was after, it was history.
Although Ridyard’s artistic practice is mostly concerned with landscapes, the painter is nevertheless fascinated by the past, with “trying to figure out exactly why I like things that are old and mysterious. I’d long been looking for how to put my work into a historical context, not just ripping off issues of historical representation but looking for history that’s actually present today.”
Ridyard certainly found what he was looking for. Located toward the south end of High Park, Colborne Lodge was the home of Park founders John and Jemima Howard, who deeded the 165-acre property to the City in 1873 on the condition that the park remain “for the free use, benefit and enjoyment of the citizens of Toronto and it be called High Park”.
The Royal Ontario Museum welcomes its big spring show Saturday (March 5), the fascinating, family-friendly, Water: The Exhibition. Imported from New York’s American Museum of Natural History but augmented with 22 additional Canadian components, the show mixes living plants and animals, interactive displays and old-fashioned specimen jars to examine water from myriad perspectives. READ MORE