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Royal Ontario Museum’s Curator of Climate Change launches global project exploring greenhouse emissions

The Royal Ontario Museum has appointed a new Curator of Climate Change

Dr Soren Brothers, Curator of Climate Change at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is leading a project that brings together 100 collaborators, representing every continent except Antarctica, to assess the importance of greenhouse gas emissions from desiccating environments.

The environmental scientist and researcher was appointed as the Curator of Climate Change last month shortly after the UN’s COP26 conference on climate change came to a close in Glasgow where world leaders agreed to cut carbon emissions and scale back the use of fossil fuels.

Advancing the science of climate change

The museum says with the threat of the climate crisis reaching new levels of urgency, the position – one of the first of its kind at a major museum – signals its intention to ‘play a greater role advancing the science of climate change, biodiversity and conservation, and deepening public engagement on these vital topics’.

The ROM is Canada’s largest museum and a scientific and research institute with 270,000 square feet of gallery space and 1.5m visitors pre-pandemic. The endowed position was financed by Toronto’s Allan Shiff, whose C$1.5m donation to the museum was matched by the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust.

Opening pathways to new ideas

Dr Soren Brothers

“I can’t imagine a better place than ROM with its extensive arts, culture, and natural history collections to express the intimate relationship between humanity, nature, and our planet’s climate,” said Dr Brothers, who is also an Assistant Professor at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto. “I’m hoping to harness all of these elements, along with current climate change research from around the world, to open pathways to new ideas and tangible solutions on this most pressing issue.”

The museum says his appointment will enable it to broadly share knowledge and insights on climate change and help point the way to a sustainable future.

Evidence-based research

In his role, Dr Brothers will be responsible for working with colleagues across the museum to combine evidence-based research and knowledge into the ROM programming, exhibitions, and education that raise awareness and inspire ecological citizenship and action on the climate emergency and sustainability.

This also involves building partnerships with a network of global collaborators, such as his current project, to address the issue of climate change mitigation on a local and international level.

“We are in urgent need of a course correction on climate change,” said Josh Basseches, ROM Director & CEO. “Given that the climate crisis is really about the interrelationship between human actions and the natural world, ROM is uniquely situated to address this pressing global issue. As one of the few museums in the world with a mandate cutting across art, culture, and nature, we have the capacity to take a holistic approach to communicating the effects of climate change through a transdisciplinary lens.”

The Allan and Helaine Shiff Curator of Climate Change is one of 35 curatorships at ROM and one of seven endowed curatorships to receive matching funds by the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust.

About the author – Adrian Murphy

Adrian is the Editor of MuseumNext and has 20 years’ experience as a journalist, half of which has been writing for the cultural sector.

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