ROM Young Patrons gather among the dinosaurs to give out first research fund award

ROM Young Patrons gather among the dinosaurs to give out first research fund award

Members of the ROM Young Patrons' Circle mingle among the dinosaurs (Image: Jaclyn Klein) 

Last week at the ROM, Dr. Sarah Fee, a cultural anthropologist on staff, took to the stage in the museum’s theatre and accepted the inaugural Young Patrons’ Circle Research Fund gift—a $7,000 sum that will eventually result in new exhibits. Before the announcement, curators from various parts of the museum made their case for the funding, turning the event into a kind of Academy Awards for museum nerds. After the jump, our rundown of the night.

The Young Patrons’ Circle is the baby version of the ROM’s Royal Patrons’ Circle. Members of both groups pay a yearly fee (for the YPC, between $600 and $5,000) and receive benefits like behind-the-scenes tours and research lectures from some of the ROM’s curators. Last year, the YPC voted to donate some of its dues to a research fund. Since September, a portion of that money has been saved up, just waiting to be handed out.

Dr. Sarah Fee, YPC Research Fund recipient (Image: Jaclyn Klein) 

A peer-review committee, which also chooses the recipient of the Royal Patrons’ Circle fund, decided Fee should receive the donation for her research into the links between the textiles of Oman and East Africa. Fee will use the money to travel to the regions, where she will study the trade circuit of Omani silk fabric and the contributions of that fabric to East African style. “I need to travel to live with people to study and understand their art,” she said, thanking the audience for the donation.

The research that Fee and subsequent recipients undertake through the YPC fund will result in displays and presentations for the general public. “This is something that several people in the ROM are working on, the idea that globalization is actually something that has been happening for many millennia around the world,” she told us after the ceremony. “We’re building up towards an exhibit to see all these Indian Ocean interconnections. We’re also going to be doing some reporting and filming for the website.” We’re looking forward to seeing what happens.