ROM Trip

In many courses, it is often hard to establish a real connection or experience which complements the lecture material found in the university classroom. In concurrence with SASAH’s experiential learning, the first year class had our 4th hour (or rather, day) at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto this past Saturday. In lecture, we learn about the Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, looking at epic literature, historical texts, and even modern day interpretations. It was therefore an immense treat to be able to apply this knowledge to the tangible artifacts in the museum. Guided by Professors Kelly Olson and Beth Greene, we were given a tour of the galleries along with detailed explanations and insights into the artifacts at which we were looking, whether they were busts, coins, mortuaries, jewellery, or pottery. In every case, they provided a wealth of information on the object, much more than the small blurbs next to the artifacts could ever hope to achieve. After the antiquity exhibits, we were given free range to explore the whole museum, including the main attraction for most people, the dinosaurs. The best part however, was the fact that we were treated to a “Private Experience” which involved an actual hands-on examination of some of the artifacts. The various objects, ranging from rocks that had insults engraved on them and would be slingshotted at enemies, to toy horses for children, were organized by a theme and it was our job to guess their function and the theme of the whole table. I personally found it interesting to see how in some cases, life had not changed much since antiquity, and in others, how alien their way of life would have been to us. It makes us really wonder what conclusions future scholars will draw from the objects that we use today.

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