Justin Bieber museum exhibit to open in Stratford

A Justin Bieber museum exhibit is opening in the singer’s hometown of Stratford, Ont., next month.

Mementoes from Bieber’s formative years as an aspiring Canadian singer will go on display at the Stratford Perth Museum on Feb. 18.

The exhibit is titled, “Steps to Stardom” — a reference to the young singer’s busking shows on the steps outside the local Avon Theatre.

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“The steps of the Avon Theatre was probably the turning point (in his life), but for many people around here, they knew he was talented years before that,” John Kastner, general manager of the museum, told the Stratford Beacon Herald.

The exhibit was put together by the museum’s curators in co-operation with Bieber’s grandparents, Diane and Bruce Dale, who gave them access to an extensive archive of items from the performer’s childhood and career.

The exhibit will display Bieber’s Grammy Award, a hockey bag, microphones and personal letters, including one from Michelle Obama.

There were are about 125 items of interest collected and they will be narrowed down to between 50 to 75 pieces for the exhibit.

The ongoing exhibit will be refreshed with new Bieber items as time passes.

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Kastner said organizers had been considering a Bieber exhibit for a while.

The plans were put in place last summer when Conservative MP Peter Van Loan, the heritage critic for his party, visited the museum with his family and noted there was no acknowledgment of Bieber’s history in the city.

He wasn’t the only person who asked about the superstar’s absence, Kastner said, but this time it was different.

“This was a [former] cabinet minister,” he said. “That sort of stuck with me.”

“We had a very brief conversation with him here, and he was very appreciative — couldn’t have been nicer, and just expressed how much he appreciated the fact that the museum was doing the exhibit,” Kastner said about Bieber.

Bieber’s success has been a highlight of Stratford for many visitors each year.

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In 2010, Stratford’s tourism board unveiled a “Bieber-iffic Map” highlighting 24 locations linked to the singer.

The museum’s organizers are hoping that the “Steps to Stardom” exhibit appeals to Bieber’s loyal fan base.

Many of Bieber’s fans took to Twitter to share their excitement about the upcoming exhibit.

—With files from The Canadian Press

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