During my last year of high school we took a tour of the Department of Vertebrate Palaeontology at the Royal Ontario Museum (the department is now known as Palaeobiology — they merged with Invertebrate Palaeontology in 1996). We students were offered the oppotunity to come back and work as volunteers, and I eagerly pursued this opportunity. I’d like to say that I had a passion for Vertebrate Palaeontology (or even for dinosaurs), but my interest was simply a product of my general curiosity: I wanted to see what scientists did, and how they did it, and I didn’t really care what field they were working in. And besides, it was cool.
I had a great time working at the ROM, and I soon graduated from volunteer turtle bone sorter to mildly paid computer programmer. I used to take the GO Train in from home every day, spend half a day at the ROM, half a day at Athenians, with lunch at Bogey’s Sandwich Shop and Greg’s Ice Cream between the two.
The ROM is going through a renaissance (their words) these days. Part of this involves a rather dramatic expansion and renovation of its home at the corner of University and Bloor in Toronto. You can watch this transformation on their newly-installed webcam.