The History of the Prehistoria Museum
Even the tallest of trees begin with the smallest of seeds, and from our new home in downtown Toronto, our educational work is beginning to bloom.
Canada is home to some incredible museums, including the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta and it is our goal over the coming years to step up and join their ranks as a world-class, large-scale facility. We have a deep respect for the original research, vast collection, and extensive resources of these well established (and government funded) facilities.
Obviously, like us, they also had to start somewhere!
Prehistoria is a grass-roots endeavour, with a desire to leave a positive impact on their community and the world around them.
Ben Lovatt, the founder of Prehistoria, was forced out of pursuing a formal education and his intended degree in the Climate Sciences by the development of several debilitating medical conditions that emerged through his childhood and continue to plague him to this day. Faced with the desire to continue learning and the need to develop a sustainable lifestyle that would accommodate his health, Ben sought to create educational resources that could be available universally to people of all budgets, disabilities and cultures.
Following the success of his online multimedia site Educated Earth (freely viewed by over 5 million people in 224 nations and territories worldwide), and his conservation-centered work in the zoo & pet trades, a group of amazing folks have volunteered to joined in and help create the Prehistoria Natural History Centre – a community based, free admission, destination for everyone to experience the wonders of the natural and historical world.
Prehistoria is a completely self-reliant facility, currently receiving no government funding, and generates all of its operational and acquisition budget from the sale of sustainably sourced educational products.
As a small organization, a complete reliance on government handouts could very well risk our lifetime of educational work being callously discarded on the whims of a politician trying to save a buck – a fate that left North York’s Hobberlin Museum collection decaying in an Ontario barn and trapped within crates in a farmer’s field. The abrupt closure and eviction of their facility directly lead to the damaging (or outright destruction) of thousands of specimens due to a lack of funding and lack to time to prepare for continued storage. Thankfully we have managed to acquire, preserve and (in many instances) repair the remnants of the Hobberlin Museum and now those specimens can live on and continue inspiring through educational displays.
While we cannot afford to open a large-scale museum location yet, in less than five years we have gone from door-to-door selling a meager handful of fossils that could scarcely fill a backpack to operating the only free resource in Toronto for people of all ages to experience everything from taxidermy to Egyptian mummy animals to human anatomy. Though there will always be individuals with differing opinions and perspectives, this has only been possible due to the ongoing and overwhelming support of the Canadian and International community.
With your help, we now have the largest educational instagram account in Canada (@natural_selections) and have opened a dedicated location for the Prehistoria Natural History Centre!