The Gardiner Museum and the Royal Ontario Museum sit across the street from each other. You just get off at Museum Station and walk up to the street level and you’re on the sidewalk in front of the Gardiner.
We got to the Gardiner as it was opening and it was dead quiet and peaceful. But not ten minutes went by before a group of third-graders showed up. It got loud. Really loud. Loud enough that it chased us to the second floor. I overheard one museum associate saying that there were actually two schools for a total of a hundred seventy-five children in the museum. I kept listening as this helpful employee explained, that the Gardiner’s had a love of ceramics of all kinds and their gifts to each other started to take over all the horizontal surfaces of their considerable mansion. That’s when they decided the gift the city with their museum. A lot of the collection is also yellow or features insects, because that’s what they collected. As museums go, it’s a good half-day’s visit even with the invasion.
The ROM on the other hand, would take a full day at least to explore. And since we only now had half a day, we sat down to lunch and talked about a strategic hit and run on it. There’s a lot of any museum that I’m less interested in. The whole discovery-zone I could miss. What they had that I was really interested in was the Gem and Mineral section. If I only went there I would be satisfied. It’s the magpie in me that wants see all the shiny sparklies.
On the way out of the ROM, we went by the public facilities. They were located off of the Natural History exhibits. That section was just creepily surreal. To see all the taxidermied animals that we had just visited live in the zoo…too weird.