Spiders: Fear & Fascination at the ROM

Ignite Your Curiosity. Conquer Your Fears. Spiders as You’ve Never Seen Them Before

Photo © Robert Whyte

Spiders inhabit nearly every corner of the globe, and this summer they will take over the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in an astonishing exhibition that explores how these extraordinary creatures have evolved and survived for over 300 million years. Featuring the latest scientific discoveries, interactive and augmented reality, and more than 200 live and dry specimens, Spiders: Fear and Fascination makes its North American debut at the ROM on June 16, 2018. 

Explore the unknown mysteries of one the planet's most successful animals. Spiders takes visitors into the hunting, burrowing and weaving world of spiders, whose arachnid origins extend back to a time long before dinosaurs. Developed by the Australian Museum and toured internationally by Flying Fish, the exhibition combines virtual and real experiences to highlight the extraordinary diversity of spiders. Visitors will come face-to-face with hundreds of live and dry spider and non-spider arachnid specimens, from tarantulas and scorpions to centipedes, redbacks, and the notorious western black widow spider.

New discoveries in the field of arachnology and venom, brought to life through hands-on interactives, projections and augmented reality, explain how venom, silk, movement, vision and vibration have enabled these creatures to survive and thrive. Among the insights, scientists explain how spiders use static electricity in the atmosphere to ‘fly’, and how research is focusing on replicating spider silk for use in heart surgery. During the exhibition, visitors can expect to experience live demonstrations, including a venom-milking lab run by trained entomologists, a virtual spider cave, and a dome-web spider sphere.

Unique to the ROM’s presentation, the exhibition also examines spider species found only in North America, and looks at the impact of spiders from an art and cultural perspective. The exhibition shares examples of spiders found in ancient crafts and textiles and examines the place of spiders in Indigenous art, culture and mythology.

Be prepared to see spiders as you’ve never seen them before,” says Josh Basseches, ROM Director & CEO. “Spiders: Fear and Fascination is a window into the world of one of the most successful and misunderstood animals on earth. Drawing on the latest scientific discoveries in the field of arachnology and the ROM’s curatorial expertise, this fascinating exhibition will inspire a deeper understanding of the vital role spiders play in our ecosystem, as well as their cultural significance throughout history.”

Spiders runs from June 16, 2018 to January 6, 2019 and will be a separately ticketed exhibition. ROM Members always enjoy free admission and exclusive opportunities to experience ROM exhibitions and programs.

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

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