This museum's phone has been ringing off the hook thanks to Justin Bieber

It's not every day that a local history museum can say its phone has been ringing off the hook, but lately the calls don't stop coming at the Stratford Perth Museum.

Exhibit tracking Justin Bieber's dramatic rise from boy busker to pop idol opens Sunday

Justin Bieber's mother, Pattie Mallette, poses with a cardboard cutout of her son at the Stratford Perth Museum's new exhibit about the pop star. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

It's not every day that a local history museum can say its phone has been ringing off the hook, but lately the calls don't stop coming at the Stratford Perth Museum. 

"We're fielding calls from Europe, we're fielding calls from Japan," John Kastner, the museum's general manager said.  "From Thursday to Sunday morning, I had about a thousand emails from either media outlets or fans, or people interested in coming here."

What they're interested in is an exhibit called Steps to Stardom. It tracks the rise of Stratford's most famous son, Justin Bieber, from his days as a boy busking on the streets of Stratford to one of the world's best selling music artists. ​

Kastner said the calls have been relentless. American tour companies have called the museum asking about group rates, magazines, radio and television stations all want to do interviews, he's even getting calls at home. 

Memorabilia collected by Bieber's grandparents

Startford Perth Museum general manager John Kastner said the new exhibit tracking Justin Bieber's career has attracted an unprecedented level of public interest. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

"I was at home on a Sunday morning and the phone rings and it's somebody from People Magazine wondering if they can get clearance to use one of the images on our website," he said. "That's when it started to resonate for us that this is going to be a little bit of a difference for us." 

Kastner expects at least 1,000 people will be looking to catch a glimpse of the new exhibit when it opens on Sunday, but Bieber's relatives got a sneak peek on Thursday. 

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"It's like walking into a time warp just seeing all these memories," said Bieber's mother Pattie Mallette. "I think they did a fantastic job." 

"I feel very honoured that they would choose memorialize part of Justin's past that we won't get back again, just his childhood and growing up, it's been challenging sharing our whole life with everybody," she said. 

"It's really humbling and an honour to just see my baby's accomplishments and all the stuff on display for others to see, it's really nice," said Pattie Mallette. "This stuff, most of it, was in my dad's basement." 

Collection includes clothes, awards, fan art

Most of the Justin Bieber artifacts for the Steps to Stardom exhibit at the Stratford Perth Museum came from Bruce and Diane Dale's personal collection of their grandson's memorabilia. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

"When this came up I thought it would be great to show off all of the stuff we had of him," said Malette's father, Bruce Dale. "The people that would see it would normally be the people we invite into the house and that's not a lot of people."

So when the museum asked if it could borrow some of the couple's collection of Bieber memorabilia, Dale leapt at the chance. 

"I thought it was great just to show off all the stuff we had of him," he said. 

The collection includes shoes worn by Bieber, a jacket worn by the pop star during one of his concerts, awards, documents, albums, posters, even fan art. 

'It's for him'

Steps to Stardom, the new Justin Bieber exhibit at the Stratford Perth Museum opens Sunday. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

The museum said it plans to keep the exhibit until the end of the year, but depending on public appetite, it could keep it open longer. 

The Dales are willing to allow the Stratford Perth Museum to keep the artifacts as long as it wants. 

"It's for him," Bruce Dale said of his grandson. "To get it out and to be seen by the kids themselves because they're the ones that put him there." 

Workers put the finishing touches on an exhibit about Justin Bieber that opens on Sunday. The Stratford Perth Museum has been fielding thousands of calls and emails from all over the world ahead of the official opening. (Colin Butler/CBC News)


Colin Butler

Video Journalist

Colin Butler is a veteran CBC reporter who's worked in Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton and London, Ont. Email: