Thursday, July 29, 2010


My museum extravaganza continued this week with more in-depth time at the ROM. One of my favourite exhibitions was a photo essay on isolated seniors and the house call practice that provides medical care for them. I've become increasingly aware lately of the reality of aging but, whoa. This really brings it home. For people without family, or without the ability to maintain a wide variety of close friendships - and let's face it, no matter how friendly we might feel we can all face that challenge as work and family commitments increase, never mind what unpleasant health issues we may develop in later life - this is a daunting possibility.

I've been pretty absorbed by the geology section too, and the exhibit on a terracotta army (life sized military figures and matching horses on loan from China) is pretty amazing, and let's not forget the awesome soup and the luscious desserts at the Food Studio... but most of all it's the people.

Usually I'm at the ROM on weekends, when there are a ton of families with young children looking for a morning's entertainment out of the rain or the cold. Weekdays in winter: it's all about the school groups, and the occasional preschooler outing. Right now? Summer camps!

These are a mixture of ROM-sponsored groups in various age ranges, with an equal number of other camps having an outing to the museum just like me (though I am not wearing a camp-issued T shirt.) Actually this is not quite true - I did meet several very friendly children in a camp group that did not issue camp Ts, and I would very much like to know how their counselor managed to herd them up all day and not go grey or tear her hair out altogether. In any case you can hear them coming from a long way away, and nothing beats their take on what they're looking at, as with the older boy explaining to some younger girls that "see, makeup back then was horrible" as they all viewed a mannequin representing an Egyptian lady dressing herself and her hair for a dinner party.

Added to the campers are a huge number of families visiting Toronto for a holiday, and I think the reason their kids are less amused than the campers is that their parents take them into the less thrilling exhibits, like 18th-19th century European furniture. They would probably have more fun running free in Egypt, checking out the mummies and the tomb, or in Greece, watching the grownup ladies giggle over the naked torsos and taking each other's pictures with same (yes, it's true, and I wasn't one of them.) But one universally-applied line from their parents seems to solve everything: yes dear, we'll get that when we go eat.

See? I'm not the only one in love with the Food Studio.

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