About Us


THIS PLACE WE CALL HOME

Newfoundland and Labrador. These two words mean many things to many people.

  • For tourists it is becoming a bucket list destination - an ‘off the beaten path from everywhere’ place that promises original and authentic experiences.
  • For residents it is home. And there is nowhere else they would rather be.
  • For people who have moved away it is where their hearts still belong and many still call home.

In this place where majestic cliffs plunge straight into the frigid and abundant North Atlantic ocean, many different peoples, over thousands of years, have forged a rich and diverse culture.

THIS PLACE WE CALL THE ROOMS

The Rooms is Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest public cultural space. It represents and showcases our province to itself and to the world.

Both a destination and a journey, The Rooms is where the province’s most extensive collection of artifacts, art and historical records come together to create meaningful and memorable visitor experiences that share who we are and how we came to be.

Interesting Facts:

  • We stand guard over a million natural history specimens, and over a million artifacts, that connect our past to our present and future. Anyone who would like to delve deep can arrange in advance to access our research collections.
  • We have three Regional Museums—located in Grand Falls-Windsor, Grand Bank, and North West River in Labrador.
  • We manage a collection of over 7,000 works of art, ranging from historical to contemporary, from international art to local crafts and folk art. While we concentrate most on Newfoundland and Labrador artists, the collection includes many other Canadian works/exhibits.
  • We preserve records of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador that have enduring legal, fiscal, evidential or research value.
  • We also collect records from private sources which have enduring value to the history of the province.
  • And we make these collections accessible to the public and our staff offer assistance to anyone looking to find answers to their questions. Many of these records are also available online by searching our digital database.

Since it opened in 2005, The Rooms has presented hundreds of exhibitions and more than 1,000 education and public programs, capturing the imagination of over 1 million visitors—and the numbers grow every season.

ABOUT THE ROOMS BUILDING AND SITE

Soaring into the skyline of downtown St. John’s, The Rooms combines modern technology with a striking visual reference to our past. Its design mirrors the fishing rooms where families came together to process their catch. Designed by Philip Pratt, Charles Henley and Paul Blackwood of the architectural firm PHB Group and finished in local granite, local wood, brushed aluminum and acres of glass, our building is as distinctive as Newfoundland and Labrador. And offers an unparalleled view of our harbor city.

The Rooms location is also historically significant. Almost 250 years ago, this was the location of Fort Townshend. The star-shaped citadel, one of the largest British fortifications in North America at the time, defended Britain's fishing interests.

After 1870, the site became home to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and, later, the St. John's Fire Department.

Before construction began on The Rooms, archaeological work was done to ensure none of the history was lost. The Rooms was built in a way that preserved the history beneath it.

Our Vision

The Rooms is an innovative, culturally relevant institution that represents and showcases Newfoundland and Labrador to itself and to the world, and brings the wider world to its doorstep.

The Rooms mandate is outlined in The Rooms Act under Section 4, Objects of the Corporation as follows:

(ROOMS ACT, 2016) 

(a) collect, preserve, present, exhibit and make available for research the historic artifacts, natural history specimens and archival records that represent and illustrate the significant history, culture and natural heritage of the province;

(b) conduct research with respect to the history, natural history, culture and heritage of the province for the purpose of paragraph (a);

(c) collect and present provincial, national and international contemporary and historic art;

(d) advance and promote the works of contemporary visual artists of the province;

(e) support the development of cultural industries in the province;

(f) strengthen the culture of the province;

(g) develop and conduct programs and events that represent and illustrate the significant history, culture and heritage of the province; and

(h) provide and enhance client services and partnerships to promote the cultural collections of the province and to show other national and international collections.

Read The Rooms Strategic Plan.

The Rooms Annual Report 2017-18.

In June of 2017, The Rooms completed a Public Consultation after seeking feedback and opinion from the community at large. Click here to see the results.

Governance

The Rooms Corporation is a provincial crown corporation governed by a Board of Directors, who are appointed by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Margaret Allan - Chair of the Board
Earl Ludlow - Vice Chair of the Board
Jeff Pardy - Treasurer
Dawn Baker
Kathi Stacey
Mary McCarthy
Michelle Baikie
Heidi Bonnell
Katharine Hickey
Gary Newell
Carmela Murphy - Government Representative

 “We live at a time in which the internet and digital media are eroding many cultures. The culture of Newfoundland and Labrador, however, remains uniquely strong. As our economy grows and attracts investment, it becomes even more important to understand our shared past in order to know who we are and, more importantly, who we want to become.” 
- Dean Brinton is the Chief Executive Officer of The Rooms Corporation. 

PUBLIC CONSULTATION

As part of our ongoing community outreach, The Rooms engaged with its stakeholders, including the general public, on December 12, 2017. Find the results here. (click link to download pdf file)