Friday Two Cents: Inspiration In My Home Town II


For the second time in recent weeks I have played tourist in my hometown of Toronto.  Well technically I wasn’t in a touristy situation.  I went to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) on Teacher Appreciation Day and I went to get some more inspiration to bring to the children in the curriculum. 

Moreover, they have this new exhibit that I simply must see.  It is called Mesopotamia: Inventing our World.  It is a collection of artifacts that date back to the birth of civilization from the Sumer, Assyria and Babylon civilizations, from the British Museum. 

T Rex at the ROM in Toronto Jan 18, 2008

T Rex at the ROM in Toronto Jan 18, 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because it was teacher appreciation day, there was an extra bonus for the exhibit. They had tours directed to teachers, to help them with bringing the exhibit to the classroom.  I booked a later tour so I could explore the museum until then.  The last time I was at the ROM was for the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit three years ago and some things had changed in the museum.  They had a new Japan, Korean and China exhibit that was filled with amazing art work, an Art Deco exhibit, the Greek, Roman and Egyptian exhibits and of course my favorite, dinosaurs. 

It was time for the tour and it was amazing.  They started with the contributions to civilization from the Sumer, Assyria and Babylon cultures given to the modern world.  Things like written language, the alphabet, bureaucracy and agriculture are some of the ones I knew, but beer making and accounting was something new. 

NYC: Brooklyn Museum - Reliefs of King Ashur-n...

NYC: Brooklyn Museum – Reliefs of King Ashur-nasir-pal II – King Ashur-nasir-Pal (Photo credit: wallyg)

They had a lot of artifacts but the most spectacular were the Assyria and Babylon wall art.  They had huge slabs of rock that had beautifully carved art, depicting life and stories from the time.  The influences of early Egyptian art was unmistakable.  I was fortunate to view the Egyptian art exhibit when it was at the ROM about 8 to 10 years ago and the similarities are astounding. 

The British Museum, Room 55 - Cuneiform Collec...

The British Museum, Room 55 – Cuneiform Collection, including the Epic of Gilgamesh. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yet the most spectacular part of the exhibit was the clay tablets showing the early writings and language, Cuneiform script.  Most of the tablets were of every day life issues but the ones that I wanted to see were the tablets of the books of the Tales of Gilgamesh.  A great king that ruled the city of Uruk.  When I saw the 10 by 20 centimeter tablet with the Cuneiform script about the tale of Gilgamesh I had to stop and take in the moment and imagine.  His tale is one of the oldest if not the oldest written stories in human history.  The tablet was about 3000 years old and the story perhaps 5000 – 6000 years old.  I was looking at something that was written and enjoyed by someone just like me thousands of years ago.  If that is not inspirational, I do not know what is.

I finished off the tour and just spent time enjoying the atmosphere of some of the artifacts.  The exhibit was simply breathtaking and I would highly recommend it. 

Between the Mesopotamia exhibit and the other exhibits in the museum, I was like a kid in a candy store.  I saw and experienced so much I can easily say that it was a very inspirational day. 



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