Take a look inside the ROM's newly restored, 84-year-old entrance

For the first time in a decade, the Royal Ontario Museum has reopened its Queen's Park entrance.

'Any great entrance speaks to the promise of what's there,' lead architect says

The rotunda room features a domed mosaic ceiling and stained glass window panels. (Nick Boisvert/CBC)

For the first time in a decade, the Royal Ontario Museum's historic Queen's Park entrance is open to the public.

Tuesday's re-opening concluded years of restoration work to the Weston Entrance, which features limestone steps leading up to the ROM's rotunda room and its golden mosaic dome.

"Any great entrance speaks to the promise of what's there," said Siamak Hariri, the lead architect for the renovation project.

The restored entrance features new heated limestone steps, designed to act as a gathering place. (Nick Boisvert/CBC)
The mosaic ceiling was first installed in the 1930s. It features more than a million tiles of Venetian glass (Nick Boisvert/CBC)

Designers made 'dozens and dozens' of subtle changes

The designers of the restored entrance say their goal was to preserve the "dignity" of the original space, which was lauded as an architectural masterpiece when it first opened in 1933.

However, Hariri's firm added new features, such as benches, lighting and doors. He's hoping the alterations will not distract from the original architecture. 

"There are dozens and dozens of little touches here that are new," he said. "But if you tell me that you don't see them, that would be the best in a way."

'It was sort of off to the side for a while and now it’s front and centre,' says lead architect Siamak Hariri. (Nick Boisvert/CBC)
The museum's marble floor, just steps inside the reopened entrance. (Nick Boisvert/CBC)
Four artifacts were carefully selected to surround the Rotunda Room, meant to put the museum's treasures on full display. 'You feel the quality and sensuousness of that carving,' Hariri says. (Nick Boisvert/CBC)

A more accessible entry point

The rebirth of the entrance also signals the first phase of the museum's Welcome Project, which is aiming to improve accessibility to the building and its galleries.

Last year, more than 1.3 million people visited the ROM, according to the museum.

An illuminated display between between the doors of the entrance. (Nick Boisvert/CBC)
Museum-goers take photos of the new entrance on its opening day. (Nick Boisvert/CBC)