Monday, April 21, 2008

Medieval Week at the ROM

The Toronto Branch of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada for the second year, organized a presentation and display of heraldry in Canada during the March Break week (March 10 - 14, 2008) at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). The ROM has been developing this event over the past 4-5 years, evolving it as a "medieval" week, complete with medieval swordsmanship (AEMMA), calligraphy, medieval dance, brass rubbings, and longbow archery all interactive displays oriented towards the pleasure and engagement of both kids and adults.
Figure 1: The static display depicting the books, images and arms. Sitting is David Skene-Melvin. The photo was taken just prior to the doors opening at the ROM

The Toronto Branch display was comprised of two areas, the first, a static and informative display of heraldic arms, paintings, carvings and books. This was manned by volunteers from the Toronto Branch including Ilona Jurkiewicz, David Skene-Melvin, Thomas Doran, David Birtwistle to name a few. The ROM also provided additional volunteers to help man the display.
Figure 2: A shot of the kids table where they colour their own coats of arms

The second area was a setup which allowed children to create their own coats of arms under the guidance of a Branch member and a good number of volunteers, including Ilona's daughter. The Branch provided a great many copies of line drawings of various shield designs (per pale, per pale, per bend, bend, chief, chevron, etc.) and examples of charges which provided ideas for the children to be added to their shields. The children armed with colour markers rendered some fairly creative arms. This activity will be enhanced next year to include an on-site computer and scanner so that the Branch can collect the "daily best" and host the image on the Society's website. The table typically had between 10 - 12 children at any one time anxious to draw their own personal coats of arms.

The ROM experienced another successful year for the March Break program, with over 10,000 people going through the museum daily. It goes without saying that the medieval displays and presentations were extremely popular over the course of the week.

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