Current Exhibitions

Canada at Play: 100 Years of Games, Toys and Sports

February 6th, 2016 to May 15th, 2016

Interior Gallery

In the dead of winter or the heat of summer, outside or inside, Canadian children have always worked hard to have fun! This exhibition examines our favourite games and toys over the past 130 years.

Despite the twentieth-century’s astonishing developments in science, medicine and technology, some things have remained constant. Children still play with dolls and farm sets. Skating, tobogganing and playing hockey remain an integral part of Canadian winters.

Canada at Play includes activities and toys for a range of ages. Replicas of a tin steam roller, a wooden jumping jack, and more will transport visitors back in time. All generations will enjoy this exhibition, celebrating what is common to us all!

This exhibition is organized and circulated by the Royal Ontario Museum through its Travelling Exhibitions Program. The Royal Ontario Museum is an agency of the Government of Ontario.

Opening Reception: Friday, February 5, 8:00 pm
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Free Play

January 30th, 2016 to May 8th, 2016

Moore and Volunteer Galleries

This exhibition explores the work of contemporary artists who borrow from play and games to reveal social, philosophical, and cultural issues. From playfulness, to mathematical strategy, the exhibiting artists have mined the significance of games, reinventing them to create experiences that involve viewers, and reflect on the nature of participation in art.

Artistic processes tied to game-playing have historically attracted the avant-garde. They were intrinsic, for example, to the work of war-addled Surrealists and Dadaists, who invented the “exquisite corpse” collaborative activity as well as automatic drawing in their quest to free the imagination and upend bourgeois pretensions of art. In the 1960s and 1970s, the counter-cultural and anti-war Fluxus group and the New Games Foundation questioned capitalism and corporate culture by staging massive public games in city parks. Moving away from the classical chess conventions of kings, queens, and bishops, the works in this exhibition do not represent medieval figures but strategies of decision-making around contemporary issues.

Organized by curator Melissa E. Feldman, Free Play is circulated by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York, and made possible, in part, by grants from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, and with generous support from ICI’s International Forum and Board of Trustees.

Opening Reception: Friday, February 5, 8:00 pm
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A Ripple Effect: Canadians and Fresh Water

January 23rd, 2016 to August 14th, 2016

Forum Gallery

Canada contains 7% of the world’s renewable fresh water. Like many Canadians, we Londoners have some of this fresh water on our doorstep. It was and is a fundamental part of our lives. Many of us consider it to be one of Canada’s most precious resources and a key component of our national identity.

A Ripple Effect examines the larger story of Canadians’ relationship with fresh water by focusing on the Thames, Speed, and Eramosa rivers. Organized under the themes of work and play, the exhibition will explore the ways in which we have used fresh water for domestic and industrial pursuits. It will consider the sometimes negative consequences of that use as well as how we have attempted to address them. A Ripple Effect will also highlight the wide variety of ways we have enjoyed water for recreational purposes. From boating and swimming to skating and curling to picnicking and nature study, we are drawn to fresh water to refresh both body and spirit.

The exhibition will include a wide range of artifacts and images including a hand-operated water pump, mussel shells used in the button-making industry, paintings of early industrial sites such as saw and grist mills, swimsuits, skates, and curling equipment. Highly interactive, the exhibition will feature a variety of activities geared to families with young children as well as to older children and adults.

This exhibition is generously supported by the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Museums Assistance Program.

Opening Reception: Friday, February 5, 8:00 pm
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Play Time

January 9th, 2016 to August 7th, 2016

Centre Gallery

Favourite toys hold a special place in our hearts, reminding us of a carefree time of fun and friends. But toys have a purpose, too. In playing, children learn different skills. Toys and games from different eras reveal what adults considered to be appropriate to turn little boys into men and little girls into women. They also illustrate parental goals as well. This exhibition will take visitors back to another time and remind us about the messages toys communicate.

Opening Reception: Friday, February 5, 8:00 pm
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Around the Clock: London at Work and Play

November 21st, 2015 to November 6th, 2016

Community Gallery

Londoners have always worked and they’ve always played. The photographs in this exhibition illustrate that the work they have done has sometimes changed with changing times. Today, you won’t find anyone shoveling snow off streetcar tracks or delivering milk in a horse drawn cart. Other occupations still exist although the details of the work are different. You will still find people working in retail, in offices, and in healthcare. Leisure pursuits experienced fewer changes. We still enjoy boating on the Thames, playing team sports, and visiting the Western Fair. This exhibition of photographs will give you a glimpse into a London of different eras and a snapshot of the lived experiences of Londoners of the past.

Opening Reception: Friday, February 5, 8:00 pm
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Visible Storage Project

March 2nd, 2014 to February 9th, 2017

Lawson Family Gallery

Greg Curnoe, Car, 1967, oil, metal, masonite, wood, 168 x 173 cm, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John H. Moore, London, Ontario, through the Ontario Heritage Foundation, 1978 Jack Chambers, Daffodils, 1976, oil on canvas, 76 x 76 cm, Gift of Mrs. Elizabeth Moore, London, 2011 Bertram Brooker, Abstraction, Music, c. 1927, oil on canvas, 43 x 61 cm, F. B. Housser Memorial Collection, 1945 Arthur Lismer, Pine Tree And Rocks, 1921, oil on canvas, 83 x 102 cm, F. B. Housser Memorial Collection, 1945

This installation permanently displays more than 100 works of art primarily focussed on London artists but featuring many of the great works of Canadian art from our vaults. With walls devoted to the works by Paul Peel, the Group of Seven, and artists such as Jack Chambers, Greg Curnoe, and Paterson Ewen, Visible Storage allows you to always see old favourites from the collection as well as discover new ones.

This exhibition has been digitally enhanced. Browse images, videos and text online at

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