It’s been a couple of years since I last visited the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), and that place never ceases to amaze me. I really need to get their membership so the family and I can take our time and really experience all the exhibits and take advantage of their special events, like the Chinese Cultural Heritage Weekend on April 12-13th.
Complimenting the Forbidden City exhibitions that Ace wrote about, the Chinese Cultural Heritage weekend was a series of activities, performances, guided tours and interactive demonstrations and workshops. A definite hit for us were the arts and crafts activities of paper cutting, fan making and lantern making and my favourite: personalized bookmarks in Chinese calligraphy. There were four separate stations for each craft with amazing volunteers who patiently and cheerfully guided the little ones on how to craft their masterpieces. This was a popular stop as steady streams of families took a moment to try out these Chinese themed crafts.
Throughout the day, there were musical performances featuring young rising stars, who were also the winners of the 2014 Chinese Cultural Centre music competition. I was blown away at their talent playing various instruments from the piano, to a Chinese flute called a dizi and even the guzheng. Fourteen-year-old musician, Mostin who played on her guzheng, had been taking lessons since she was 6 years old. Her deft fingers expertly danced on the strings of the guzheng, which is a Chinese plucked zither, popular during the Tang dynasty. Watching them reminds me of how this city is full of amazing young talent.
Going upstairs to the Schad Gallery of Biodiversity, we found people gathered around a table to learn about horse anatomy and ecology using hands-on specimens. After all, it’s the year of the horse and that’s nothing to “neigh” about (sorry, couldn’t resist!).
The Chinese Cultural Heritage Event was an enriching way to immerse myself in Chinese culture; to remind me of my heritage and more importantly to teach my kids something about their culture. The exhibits, displays and demonstrations did just that. They listened to stories about history, touched artifacts at the touch table, got their Chinese name on a bookmark. From experiencing the ancient art of tea tasting to discovering calligraphy and brush painting of local artists, this day at the ROM will be something we won’t forget.
The ROM has so much to offer and their events draw in so many people, and there’s a reason for that. It’s fun and engaging and a wonderful time to spend it with family and friends. It’s all about making memories and I can’t wait to see you again, ROM!
The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors is a stunning exhibition with over 200 national treasures from Beijing’s Palace Museum. Some of the items make their first appearance outside of China. The fascinating exhibition is on now until September 1st.
The Royal Ontario Museum is located in Toronto. For more information visit www.rom.on.ca
~ Guest post by Carol F.