pattiemallette: Had fun checking out the new @justinbieber exhibit at @stratfordperthmuseum opening today! Good job 👏🏽
This weekend the Stratford Perth Museum will become the destination for a cultural pilgrimage of sorts, as hundreds of Beliebers are expected to flock to the museum for the opening of its much-anticipated Justin Bieber exhibit, Steps to Stardom.
With fewer than four days to go before the exhibit opens at 10 a.m. on Sunday, museum staff and volunteers are almost ready for an influx of visitors unlike any they have seen before.
“At first we thought it was going to be a small exhibit. We really were looking at putting in a feature that would highlight Justin for our regular visitors to the museum,” said Micaela Fitzsimmons, the museum’s manager of exhibits and collections.
“And all of the sudden, as soon as the press release was sent out, with the response we got – really globally – we decided it had to go into a much larger gallery.
“And that actually was wonderful because the Dales (Bieber’s grandparents) have so much memorabilia that they were offering to us to put on exhibit, so all of the sudden we had so much content and wonderful stuff to put out.”
More than 4,000 media outlets around the world spread the story to more than 440 million people in January alone.
“Our website provider sent us an email because they were concerned about the traffic on our website,” museum general manager John Kastner said. “In January we had a 653 per cent increase in web traffic and they were concerned that something was wrong, that something was amiss and we were being hacked or something”
Fan response is expected to be reflected in this weekend’s attendance. On Saturday, the museum will be closed for a private viewing for the media, friends and members of the museum, volunteers and local dignitaries – likely a couple hundred people.
For Sunday’s opening, 150 tickets have been sold for each of the two-hour admission windows from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For Family Day, the museum has sold about 250 tickets for the exhibit.
“I think about last year, Family Day weekend, we might have had 20 to 25 people through the museum. This weekend, Saturday through Monday, we could have 1,000,” Kastner said.
“The majority of tickets that we sold are not to people in the 519 area. We have a lot of people from upstate New York, a lot of people from Quebec, and then particularly what I call the tourist shoulders, which is upstate New York, Michigan and Toronto.”
The museum has also fielded emails and phone calls from people in Italy, Spain, Scotland and elsewhere around the globe, all interested in the opening weekend.
“Some of those people were planning on coming opening weekend, and in some cases I sort of talked them out of it. I said, ‘This will be open all year,’ and that sort of put a bit of cold water on their plans. They said, ‘Oh OK, I’ll come with my parents in June,’ ” Kastner said.
He added those who see the exhibit after opening weekend will be required to pay only the museum’s regular price of admission at the door and won’t necessarily have to reserve tickets – unless there is a huge, continuous demand to see the Bieber memorabilia.
Though the Stratford Perth Museum has in recent years exhibited world renowned displays – such as the Anne Frank exhibit and last year’s Art Gallery of Ontario Inuit art exhibit – the expected increase in attendance for the Bieber exhibit, until it closes on Dec. 31, has prompted the museum to beef up its security.
“One thing, particularly this weekend, the museum has a terrific corps of volunteers, and we’ve tapped on a number of people to be physically in the exhibit over the course of the weekend. There’s a couple of fire doors in the exhibit – we’ve put alarms on both of those doors. We’ve also added a number of security cameras,” Kastner explained.
The exhibit takes visitors from Bieber’s early musical career and life in Stratford, through his rise to fame via social media, and into the massive global success he enjoys today.
“We’re mostly chronicling his first years,” Fitzsimmons said. “There’s two sections. One is up to 2007 when he started to become known on YouTube and was discovered by Scooter Braun, so from 2002 to 2007. We’ve had a lot of input on that from Nathan McKay, who is a great friend and promoter of (Bieber) during the early years and we have some great pieces from Nathan which we have added to the exhibit.
“And then sort of the rest of the exhibit is that 2007 to 2012-2013 period through Never Say Never, and then we’ve just approached the current day, the Purpose tour and that sort of thing.”
Featured items include pieces that even die-hard fans may have only heard of or seen online. They include Bieber’s first drum kit, which he bought with money raised through a benefit concert on the streets of downtown Stratford; the judges’ notes from the January 2007 Stratford Star contest in which Bieber competed; many of his industry awards; his hockey pictures; and his library card from the Stratford Public Librar.
“With the fans too, the Beliebers, they’re really dedicated and a huge part of his success, so we knew the fans had to be included in this exhibit – that was important,” said Sara Zilke, a collections assistant at the museum. “So we have a whole section that has the fan posters, and fan letters, and love letters that have been written to Justin that his grandparents have actually kept, and posters that Nathan McKay kept and donated to the museum.”
As a tribute to Bieber’s rise to stardom through social media and the role social media has played in spreading word of Steps to Stardom, the exhibit provides fans with plenty of opportunity to take selfies with pictures of Bieber, and encourages them to share those selfies online.
Though Bieber’s grandparents, Diane and Bruce Dale, and his mother, Pattie Mallette, have seen the exhibit, Bieber himself has not yet had the opportunity. (For reasons of privacy and security, Bieber’s own visit would likely not be publicized.)
“When the grandparents are in tears, and Pattie Mallette, the mother was here yesterday, and she’s oohing and awing, and she was here for 45 minutes taking pictures and selfies in different parts of the exhibit saying, ‘I forgot about this,’ and, ‘I love that picture,’ I think for us, that was sort of the ultimate endorsement – that they thought it was fantastic,” Kastner said.
“Even his great grandma and his aunts and uncles were in last week, and they were so excited to see everything,” Zilke added. “Even though they probably have lots of pictures with Justin himself, they wanted to take selfies with Justin by the (Avon) Theatre (display) and they were so excited.”
Justin Bieber and his mom Pattie Mallette may have had their ups and downs as the pop superstar rose to fame, but as a new museum exhibit dedicated to her son opens in hometown Stratford, Ont., Pattie tells us it’s incredible to see the journey he’s been on.
“He’s so big now!” she tells etalk’s Liz Trinnear, as she takes in a wall of family photos at the Steps to Stardom exhibit at the Stratford Perth Museum. “I feel like the whole world watched him grow up with me. You know, they maybe didn’t see him from when he was that little but… it just feels like everybody’s kind of grown up with us.”
The exhibit features numerous items his grandparents have kept and collected over the years, from his childhood (his hockey jacket labelled “Biebs” on the back) through to his pop idol status (wardrobe, fan letters, awards – and a letter from Michelle Obama).
And while Bieber was right in the middle of whirlwind success from a young age, Pattie says she felt it too.
“It happened so fast, people are like, ‘Have you been to this city?’ And I’m like yes, I think they all run together after you’ve seen so many hotels and so many venues and so many airports. I’m not complaining, it was a blessing, but it goes so fast it’s a blur.”
Justin spent Valentine’s Day with his on-again flame Selena Gomez, spotted going to church before dining out together. But it hasn’t been that long since Pattie had some quality time of her own with Justin, as they vacationed together in the Maldives toward the end of January.
“It was so nice, I just got to relax and tan and hang out with my baby boy,” she says of the trip, which she documented on Instagram.
But what about that injury that left her with a broken foot while relaxing and tanning?
“[It happened on the] first day of vacation, don’t get me started!” she tells Liz, explaining that she’s well on her way to recovery. “It’s getting there, it’s getting there. One day at a time. They said about two more weeks, I’ll be back in a shoe.”
After reconnecting with her son on vacation, Pattie acknowledges she still doesn’t expect to be hanging out with her famous son all the time.
“Every once in a while, we try and just stay connected and see each other when we can. But he’s 24, he’s not trying to hang out with mom every day anyway. One day at a time, one day at a time.”
That won’t stop mom from marveling at Bieber’s success however, feeling like a part of his “blessed” life even when they’re apart.
“It’s such an honour you know,” she says. “As Justin has all these kids that follow after him and because of this journey together I have all these people calling me mom… what an honour to be included in all of this.”
brandongonez: Had a great time hanging out with @justinbieber’s mom @pattiemallette & his grandparents today. We toured a new exhibit deidcated to him in his hometown of #Stratford & then we took a family photo together 😂😂
#tv #biebs #belieber #justinbieber
John_Kastner: Nice visit today with @pattiemallette. Justin’s mom dropped by to see the new @StratPerthMuse exhibt Steps to Stardom that chronicles the life of @justinbieber It opens to the public this Sunday. Here’s the link for more info & tickets. https://t.co/7i2Pmxvpvh
pattiemallette: Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)
January 24: Video of Justin at the Montage hotel in Beverly Hills, California.
grantaumiller: – Had a awesome opportunity to cover an event hosted by @justicespeaks last week. This organization is making a huge impact on women’s lives around the world. Thanks @justicespeaks x @pattiemallette x
@justinbieber and all those involved.