A Victorian Gentleman and his Museum

Oronhyatekha adopted a lifestyle befitting a successful, Oxford-trained physician. One major aspect of his Victorian persona was his interest in gathering a large collection of natural and historical objects. During his travels as Supreme Chief Ranger, Oronhyatekha amassed an enormous collection of curios, artifacts and natural specimens. He assembled this “cabinet of curiosities” in the Oronhyatekha Historical Rooms and Library, situated in The Temple Building, Toronto. The collections were opened to the public in September of 1902, and included over 800 pieces. Many of the objects in the Oronhyatekha Historical Collection symbolized First Nations sovereignty and international relationships. In 1911, the collection was donated by the IOF to the Royal Ontario Museum. Unfortunately, it was dispersed into departmental collections according to region of origin, thus obscuring its most compelling aspect -- what it tells us about the man who collected it.

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