To make a long story short

GAZETTEER Vol. 2 April 2020

Hi Trailblazers! We’re back again this week with a full Gazetteer of three activities.

Today, we’ll be exploring one of the oldest forms of human entertainment… storytelling.



Ancient stories show up all around us, even today. Thor was the god of thunder and lightning in Northern Europe more than 2000 years before he joined the Avengers! While, Pokémon were creatures in Japanese folktales and myths long before anyone ever threw a Poké Ball at them. 

Traditional stories, myths and legends were told to help people make sense of the world around them, and often give us clues about the culture in which they were told. So let’s explore storytelling and myth-making, and think about how important stories are in our own communities, cultures, and lives! 

Manuscript Painting from the Shahnameh of Firdawsi: “Isfandiyar slays dragon!”
16th Century AD, Bukhara, Uzbekistan
War Exploit Robe
1909, Siksika Reserve, Alberta


To start, we’ll need somewhere to put all our stories. With some paper, decoration and imagination we can make our own books to hold our stories!

 Click on THIS LINK to find step by step instructions with pictures for how to create your own bound book! Experiment! Make more than one, or use different coloured paper!

Now that you have a book, it’s time to fill it with some stories. We’ll get you started with our next activity, but remember… stories can be told through pictures, through words, or through both! Pick what is best for you. 



Stories can often be inspired by objects that people have found in their surroundings! Unearthing dinosaur bones inspired ancient Chinese stories of dragons 2,700 years ago. While beaded prayer necklaces in India inspired descriptions of Hindu gods and goddesses.

Dinosaur skeleton: Tyrannosaurus rex, USA (found 1990)
Painting of the Goddess Durga 


Let’s use some objects to inspire our own storytelling! Look around your space and find five objects that you will include in your story. We recommend:

  • Something you’ve had for a long, long time.
  • Something brightly coloured or shiny.
  • Something that is worn, like clothes or jewelry.
  • Something you can eat.
  • Something you really love, like your favourite belonging or a gift from someone you care about.

Now let’s write or draw a story that includes all five of your objects. They can belong to different characters, be part of the where the story takes place, or be details in the background, it’s up to you.

Remember this easy formula for writing a story!



The power of a story is in its telling! Many stories are told through oral traditions, meaning the stories are told out loud and passed down over generations by telling it over and over again. Can you think of any stories which you’ve only ever heard?

Inspired by a real Canadian black bear, the Winnie the Pooh books became classic children’s stories.

Want to get an idea of what telling a story can sound like? Listen to the audio guide for our Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a Classic exhibition, and find out how a real Canadian black bear became one of the world’s most famous children’s characters.


A Trailblazer reads a story to his friends at the their after-school club.

Try reading, telling, or acting out your story to somebody. You can make it suspenseful or funny by adding pauses and excitement while you tell it!

Ask them what part was their favourite, and if they have any questions for you as the author. You’ll often be surprised at what they enjoyed the most!

We’d like to see you stories! Take a picture or video and ask your adult to post it on social media. You can tag us @ROMToronto and use the hashtag #ROMTrailblazers

We’ll be back next Friday with another Dispatch activity! Until then, let your imagination run wild as your stories come to life.

Nadijah and Savhanna

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