June 18

SPIDERS: FEAR & FASCINATION @ROM – Wed., June 13th, 2018

“Ignite your curiosity. Conquer your fears. Explore the hunting, burrowing, and weaving world of Spiders like never before.”

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) invites visitors to enter the provocative world of spiders like never before at the North American debut of Spiders: Fear & Fascination. Featuring more than 400 live and preserved specimens, cutting-edge interactive experiences, and new scientific discoveries, this awe-inspiring exhibition debunks myths about one of the most successful yet misunderstood animals on the planet. Let’s get over our fear and enjoy the fascination at this exhibition.


This was an amazing preview and walk around at the ROM. We even got a glimpse of spiders and their fangs! And, yes, they almost all have venom in them. Lucky for us, most spider venom will not harm people because it is quite weak, naturally intended to paralyze insect prey long enough to devour it. We were given a view on how venom is extracted via a big screen and I have to admit it was quite intriguing!

“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 spins an immersive tale for visitors, revealing how this incredibly 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 than ever 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.”


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About the Exhibition
Spiders investigates how silk, venom, movement, vision, and vibrations have enabled these animals to thrive for over millions of years, adapting 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. It may seem delicate, but spider silk 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.

In the multi-faceted Spider Lab, trained 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 above their heads 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 more about why spiders are central to storytelling across cultures and time.


Associated Programming & Events
Through a Web Darkly: Sex and Death in the World of Spiders with arachnid behaviourist Dr. Maydianne Andrade. ROM Speaks, June 19, 2018.
#FNLROM: Arachnophile, a spectacular spider-themed party that includes complimentary exhibition access. Friday Night Live, June 29, 2018.
Spider Silk: A Golden Opportunity with Simon Peers, designer of the rare spider silk cape. ROM Connects, July 6, 2018

Developed by the Australian Museum and toured internationally by Flying Fish, 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. ROM Members enjoy free admission and exclusive opportunities to experience ROM exhibitions and programs.

For ticket information, visit: https://www.rom.on.ca/en/exhibitions-galleries/exhibitions/spiders.

For ROM Membership details, visit: https://www.rom.on.ca/en/join-us/membership/become-a-member.

We would like to thank Josslyn Johnstone, ROM Communications for the invitation to this event.