The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) will present Spiders: Fear & Fascination, exploring the hunting, burrowing and weaving world of spiders. Featuring more than 400 live and preserved specimens, interactive experiences, and new scientific discoveries, this exhibition aims to debunk myths about one of the most successful yet misunderstood animals on the planet.
“Be prepared to see spiders as you’ve never seen them before,” said Josh Basseches, ROM Director & CEO. “Spiders: Fear and Fascination draws on the latest scientific research in the field of arachnology and the ROM’s curatorial expertise, inspiring a deeper understanding of the vital role spiders play in our ecosystem and their cultural significance throughout history."
Spiders: Fear & Fascination tells a tale to visitors, revealing how this widely diverse group of animals has evolved and survived for over 300 million years, a time long before the dinosaurs. Real specimens, including 18 different types of live spiders and their relatives, plus interactive virtual elements let visitors get closer to some of the over 48,000 known spider species, from the top ten local spiders to the world’s most venomous, like the Black Widow and Brown Recluse.
“From spinning webs, dancing, and swimming, to parachuting across hundreds of kilometres and even losing a limb and growing it back, spiders are amazing animals,” said Dr. Doug Currie, Vice-President, Department of Natural History and Senior Curator of Entomology at the ROM. “This exhibition sparks curiosity, challenges misconceptions, and compels us to learn more about these uniquely talented and capable creatures.”
About the Exhibition
Spiders investigates how silk, venom, movement, vision, and vibrations have enabled these animals to thrive over millions of years, and adapt to different environments in nearly every corner of the globe. Breakthrough discoveries explain the extraordinary properties of spider silk and venom. Visitors will experience the world’s largest spider silk garment, a gold cape handwoven from iridescent silk of more than a million Golden Orb Weavers. Spider silk, although delicate, is one of the strongest and most flexible materials in the world, with research focusing on its replication for use in heart surgery. While venom can paralyze and even liquefy spiders’ prey, scientists are exploring the use of its chemicals in pain management.
ROM technicians – known as Spider Wranglers – will demonstrate live venom milking and engage visitors in hands-on learning activities with spider specimens. With the latest augmented reality and video projection technology, visitors of all ages will encounter virtual spiders as they explore the subterranean home of cave-dwelling spiders, compete in a mating dance ritual with a Peacock Spider, and create their own animated arachnid. They will also witness live Tent-Web Weavers spinning webs about their headers in a dome spider sphere. The ROM’s presentation features inclusive design elements such as touchable models, video captioning and a described audio tour for an accessible exhibition experience.
Exclusive to the ROM”s presentation, the exhibition explores the significance of spiders in traditional and popular art and culture. From Indigenous crafts and textiles to the first edition Spider-Man comic book, visitors will learn about why spiders are central to storytelling across cultures and time.
Spiders: Fear & Fascination is on display from Saturday June 16, 2018 to Sunday January 6, 2019 in the Museum’s Garfield Weston Exhibition Hall. It is a separately ticketed exhibition where ROM Members can enjoy free admission and exclusive opportunities to experience ROM exhibitions and programs.
June 16, 2018 – January 6, 2019
Royal Ontario Museum
100 Queens Park, Toronto, ON M5S 2C6, Canada
Adult - $32.00
Child - $21.00
Senior - $28.00
Student and Youth - $25.50
Courtesy of The Royal Ontario Museum, Brian Boyle, Robert Whytle and Sean McCann