Tuesday, 26 October 2010

That All Men May Know His Works

Last week, we took our kids into Toronto on a field trip.  We have a family pass for the Royal Ontario Museum and we decided to spend some time exploring.  If you live near city and you have never been to the ROM it is a fantastic place.  I, for one, could spend endless days looking and reading and being amazed.  
That All Men May Know His Works inspired by Job 37:7
There is a beautiful section in the museum that has always attracted my eye.  The Rotunda used to be above the main entrance to the museum before the latest massive renovations.  It is stunningly gorgeous and in looking into the ROM's history I have discovered some interesting facts about it's origin.  The ROM actual website describes it's history.

"Charles T. Currelly, the first director of the Royal Ontario Museum of Archaeology, conceived of this mosaic introduction for the 1933 addition. The mosaic ceiling was designed to reflect the breadth of the collections, being adorned with patterns and symbols representing cultures throughout the ages and around the world.  The ceiling is made from thousands of sheets of imported Venetian glass, cut into more than a million tiny coloured squares. A team of skilled workers laboured for eight months to install the ceiling.  Its sparkling gold, rust and bronze background is inset with red, blue and turquoise patterns, recalling the magnificent mosaics of the Byzantine world and Eastern Europe. Worked out on the golden field are geometrical borders and panels which frame decorative floral designs. The central panel is inscribed with a passage from the Book of Job in the Old Testament: “That all men may know His work”.

In 1876, Charles T Currelly was born in Exeter, Ontario.  He, is credited more than anyone else, for the art and archeology collections that now make up the ROM.  It says on the website that he believed museums had an educational purpose to display the material achievements of humanity so as to inspire the present day.  It was his idea to build the rotunda and I think this incredible piece of artwork gives us insight into the source of his dedication.   It speaks to the beliefs of this man that the material achievements of man no matter how great or small are all results of "His work", God's craftsmanship, and should be displayed so others may know.  It is a good reminder of what the focus should be on in our good works and where the honour, praise and recognition should always be laid.

Charles T. Currelly
Not long before his death in 1957, Charles penned his autobiography.   I Brought the Ages Home, is billed as the intriguing story of how a boy born in southwestern Ontario and trained for the ministry became one of Canada's great archaeological pioneers and museum-builders-nothing less than a homegrown Indiana Jones.  I haven't read it yet but I think I will have to try to find it at our Library.

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