Royal Ontario Museum Creates Curatorship of Climate Change, Scours Globe To Fill Curator Job

By Karen Bliss 9/30/20 |

The Royal Ontario Museum natural history exhibits — photo credit: Paul Orenstein.

In a first of its kind for a major Canadian museum, Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) has established the Allan and Helaine Shiff Curatorship of Climate Change, which aims to explore ground-breaking research and public engagement on this global crisis.

“We are confident the ROM is the only institution in Canada with its unique mandate and reach to create an inclusive platform for people to learn, exchange ideas, and tackle the greatest issue of our day,” said Allan Shiff in a statement.  “Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. We can’t sit idly by when we have the opportunity to shape our collective future. I believe in the power of bringing together a new movement of engaged citizens and researchers who will be a catalyst for change.”

The ROM is currently looking worldwide to fill the newly created position of Shiff curator “who will research and infuse the urgency of our climate emergency across the ROM’s lifelong learning activities, collections, exhibitions, and community outreach, is currently under way,” according to the press release.

The museum — which is now open with timed ticketing and mask requirements — opened in 1914 and today houses 13 million art objects and natural history specimens, featured in 40 gallery and exhibition spaces, but is much more than a display home, spearheading research and educational projects.

Allan and Helaine Shiff Curatorship of Climate Change will receive matching funds by the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust.

“At the heart of our strategic plan is the ROM’s commitment to engage with the pressing ideas and issues that define our times,” says ROM director and CEO Josh Basseches said in a statement.  “Whether it is the climate crisis and its impact on humanity and the natural world, loss of biodiversity and habitats, or the cultural impacts of forced human migration, the ROM has a growing role to play in deepening our understanding of the science and providing evidence-based insights to our many audiences.”

“I am tremendously grateful to the Shiff family for their generous gift that supports the ROM’s ability to bring critical insight to our audiences on how human activity is causing our current climate crisis. And equally important, this endowment will inspire people to help create a more sustainable world for future generations.”

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