ROM and the Crystal06 January 2008
Heather and I went to the ROM today to exercise our new membership (Christmas gift). The museum was nice with its displays of old typewriters, Canada Collects (random pieces from museums and collectors across the country) and the glass paperweight collection. The dinosaurs were neat though I have seen dinosaurs many times and the space (in the Crystal) was cramped and over-populated.
Much of the museum was over-populated and loud. There were many children running around or screaming. Mostly children who should be old enough to have been taught not to do that.
However, that was not our biggest complaint about the ROM; the biggest problem is the Crystal. In the old parts of the building there is marble and tile, which age well, and do not show dirt and grime. In the Crystal, almost all the surfaces are dry-wall, which is cheap looking and mostly painted white. White is a bad colour for many reasons, but we can stick to it looks dirty quickly and they do not seem to have the resources to keep it clean.
While walking in the gift shop, we could see on the angled wall shoe prints and dust. The shoe prints were obviously from kids because the walls are at just such an angle that they would be fun to climb. There is no excuse for the amount of dust that was on the angled wall. There are technologies to remove dust periodically such that it doesn't accumulate like it had there. If spending lots of money is their game then there are disposable dusting pads, like Swiffer, that can be disposed of after a single use, but if they want to buy less often there are feather dusters that achieve the same result without the waste.
The final problems with the Crystal portion of the ROM are the angled walls inside and its ugliness. I know we are stuck with its "avant-guard" or whatever it is supposed to be (ugly) looks, but can't be do something about the walls inside. You are still wasting the space if the walls are slanted and tall people (say 5'10") have to duck to navigate around the displays placed too close to the walls. The multitude of rabid children the avoid also make walking around the displays/tilt-y walls difficult.
After all that I will say that I will be going back but only because I don't have to pay to get in every time I go. I only hope that they adopt some technology, perhaps as fancy as a rag, to remove the dust, and parents teach their monsters... err children... how to be less loud and respect other museum patrons. (Some who have traveled a large distance just to see something at the ROM.)