TVO-commissioned series Museum Diaries takes viewers behind the scenes to unmask the mysteries of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)

  • Premieres February 25 at 7:30 pm

TORONTO, Jan. 29, 2014 /CNW/ - TVO's new commissioned series Museum Diaries is a family viewing adventure that offers unprecedented access to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), one of Canada's largest museums. Airing Tuesdays at 7:30 pm for six weeks beginning February 25, each episode mixes science, history and intrigue with educational segments led by the ROM's team of professional curators, technicians and other experts. Featuring the exploration of ancient societies, rare historic photography of 19th-century Indian royalty, and the discovery of new species, the ROM's team of specialists offers an in-depth experience for Ontarians interested in natural history, science, art and culture.

"TVO is committed to telling important Ontario stories and to supporting world-class Ontario institutions like the Royal Ontario Museum," says Lisa de Wilde, TVO's Chief Executive Officer. "By offering a glimpse behind the scenes at the ROM, we hope that Ontarians will be inspired to learn about science and history in a new way."

"The ROM is very proud to partner with TVO on Museum Diaries and give viewers extraordinary access to the parts of the Museum previously hidden behind the scenes. We show everything from international expeditions to the dismantling of a major exhibition," says Janet Carding, ROM Director & CEO, "and this program is especially significant during our Centennial year as we give visitors an insight into the whole of the ROM, beyond the public galleries."

A renowned museum with nearly 40 galleries and six million treasured artifacts and specimens, each episode takes viewers on a journey of exploration, discovering various departments. The six-part series debuts with "Fakes & Frauds Exposed," evaluating the authenticity of featured items. This episode of Museum Diaries follows the ROM's curators and technicians from the World Cultures department as they utilize the latest technology to research the pedigree of every piece that is exhibited. Museum Diaries portrays the techniques that a select group of curators and technicians use to reveal the authenticity of artifacts. The stories present an intriguing analysis covering ancient fakes to contemporary forgeries, evaluating the genuineness of featured items. While some fakes are easy to detect, others have been so masterfully disguised that they have become iconic in their own "fake" right. The program examines forgeries from all periods of history and examines the impact that looters and fakers have on museums across the world and even in our daily life. It is a thrilling ride through the tireless efforts of curators and technicians as they unveil fakes within the Museum's collection and avoid being fooled by masters of deception.

Other episodes in the series:

"Borneo Bound" airing March 4 – Showcasing the lush geography of South East Asia, Museum Diaries follows a team of curators and technicians as they plan, prep and embark on a six-week massive research expedition to the rain forests of the Gunung Mulu Mountains in Borneo. ROM Curator of Entomology, Chris Darling, leads the team. Along for the ride are Curators of Mycology, Jean-Marc Moncalvo, and Mammalogy Assistant Curator, Burton Lim. The Entomology team is conducting follow-up research to a large-scale survey conducted over 35 years ago. The Mycology team will be collecting over 400 mushroom specimens anticipating that 20% will be new to Science. The Mammalogy team is to be the first scientific team to collect bat and rat specimens from the top of the Mountain. The ROM team will be collecting specimens from cicadas to bats, rats to fauna. They will explore the evolution of indigenous species, which can lead to conclusions about the impact of climate change. All of which will be used in research projects at the Royal Ontario Museum as well as for future studies worldwide.  

"DNA Dissected" airing March 11Museum Diaries follows a group of Curators as they use DNA research to discover groundbreaking facts about the evolution of species. Research technician Oliver Haddrath leads viewers on a journey through the ROM's Ornithology Department, explaining the power of DNA, the interconnectivity of species and the technological advancements in the field.  He reveals his current research using DNA to study large flightless birds that in some cases have been extinct for more than 500 hundred years. The ROM's findings will allow the New Zealand government to save their endangered Kiwi birds. Museum Diaries also follows Oliver as he conducts tests for the ROM's archaeology department to establish if skulls found in Peruvian tombs from 600 AD are from the same family. Finally Museum Diaries introduces the Curator of Ichthyology (study of fishes), Hernan Lopez-Fernandez, and his team who use DNA research to confirm new species of the Cyclid fish and even unveil many secrets about the true nature of the market fish we eat.

"Dinos ReDiscovered" airing March 18Museum Diaries embarks on a stunning journey following ROM Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology, David Evans, and his team on an exploration in the field to the Alberta badlands to discover treasures from 65 million years ago. Museum Diaries follows ROM Project Manager, Jason French, and his team as they carefully deconstruct one of the ROM's recent Dino exhibits, Ultimate Dinosaurs: The Giants of Gondwana, and prepares the exhibit to travel to other Museums. Then Museum Diaries bears witness to the media mayhem when David Evans unveils to the world a new dinosaur species that he has identified.

"Raja Deen Dayal Revealed" airing March 25 – Transporting viewers back in time to explore the vast portfolio of one of India's most celebrated 19th-century photographers, Museum Diaries follows the ROM's World Cultures Curator, Deepali Dewan, as she leads her team to plan, prep and launch an exhibit of the famous photographs of Raja Deen Dayal. Dayal was the personal photographer to India's royalty in the late 1800s and his methods and style of photography were groundbreaking. Deepali and her team are faced with various challenges in amassing three collections from around the world for this very special and intimate exhibit. Museum Diaries also witnesses the launch of Deepali and co-author Deb Hutton's critically acclaimed book on Dayal.

"Ancient Egypt Mummified" airing April 1Museum Diaries follows Rae Ostman, the Managing Director of the ROM's Centre for Ancient Cultures, and Kiron Murkherjee, ROMKids Studio Assistant, as they plan, prep and execute an Ancient Egypt Weekend at the ROM. Various curators, preparators, interns and conservators are all involved in bringing together dynamic exhibits for this once-a-year affair. Museum Diaries accompanies one of the ROM's Educators and Egyptologists, Gayle Gibson, as she delves further into the results of a CT Scan performed on the ROM's beautiful 3000-year-old mummy, Djedmaatesankh. Gayle visits the medical technician who was involved with the original scans and the painful causes of Djedmaatesankh's death are revealed.

Subsequent to each episode broadcast, the shows will be available online at tvo.org. Watch the shows and share with the world by tweeting with @TVO, @ROMToronto and @MuseumDiariesTV.  Find out more about each episode by going online to tvo.org, or learn more about ROM Collections and Research, ROM Centennial and the ROM Channel by visiting www.rom.on.ca.

Museum Diaries is produced by Up Front Entertainment Inc. in association with TVO, Knowledge Network and with the participation of The Shaw Rocket Fund, the Canada Media Fund, the Ontario Media Development Corp., Film & TV Production Tax Credit, and the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit.

About TVO
TVO is Ontario's public educational media organization and a trusted source of interactive educational content that informs, inspires and stimulates curiosity and thought. TVO's vision is to empower people to be engaged citizens of Ontario through educational media. TVO is funded primarily by the Province of Ontario and is a registered charity supported by sponsors and thousands of donors. For more information, visit tvo.org.

About the ROM
ROM 100:
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) launches an exciting year of Centennial events and activities in March 2014. While celebrating the Museum's history, collections, curatorial expertise and research contributions, the Centennial is also an opportunity to highlight the unique ways in which the ROM connects visitors to their world and to each other.

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is Canada's largest museum of natural history and world cultures. Opened to the public on March 19, 1914, today, the ROM is internationally renowned as a distinguished research institution. Now in its Centennial year, the Museum houses collections of approximately six million artifacts and specimens. Through its eight Centres of Discovery, the ROM invites its audience to access the ROM's encyclopaedic collections and curatorial expertise while enjoying engaging exhibitions, programming, lectures, school visits, and digital engagement. The ROM is an agency of the Government of Ontario. For 24-hour visitor information in English and French, please call 416.586.8000 or visit the ROM's web site. Tickets are available online at www.rom.on.ca.

About Up Front Entertainment
Up Front Entertainment, whose principals are Executive Producers Barbara Barde and Linda Stregger, produces powerful documentaries and exciting lifestyle and reality series as well as cutting-edge current affairs programs for broadcasters all over the globe. Up Front has produced well over 600 television programs, including 15 major series. Among their best-known projects are the series Tosca: Flexing at 49; Take This House & Sell It!; and Packed!, and documentaries Deadly By Design; Prokofiev: The Unfinished Diary; Blowout: Is Canada Next?; and Daughters of Afghanistan.


 

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For further information: Media contact for inquiries related to TVO and Museum Diaries: Holly Cybulski, HC Consulting, 647.405.7633, holly@hcconsultingonline.com; Media contact for inquiries related to the ROM: David McKay, Communications Coordinator, Royal Ontario Museum, 416.586.5559, davidm@rom.on.ca