Really well, as a matter of fact
“Key performance indicator.” That’s business lingo for measuring how well we’re doing. Unlike many of the Bank’s departments, it’s easy to measure the Museum’s success: visitor numbers. Not to brag (Ha, who am I kidding?) we had 2,823 people visit the Museum on Canada Day. The following Sunday and holiday Monday yielded a further 933 and 756 visitors, respectively. Visitorship has stayed extremely healthy since then, averaging between 350 and 400 visitors a day. For the month of July and the first three weeks of August, that adds up to just over 25,000 visitors (wow). As an unfair comparison, the Currency Museum (as the Museum used to be called) pulled in just under 9,000 visitors for the same period in 2012. I say “unfair” because Ottawa had an unprecedented influx of tourists this summer. There was just so much going on. One day this month we recorded a whopping 902 visitors when “La Machine” roared through the neighbourhood. So, it would seem that when a giant, fire-breathing mechanical dragon-horse battles a two-story-tall spider near the Museum, it’s a boost for our attendance numbers. Or maybe it was our fine display of share certificates that was the draw. There’s just no way to tell.
Complicating these straightforward statistics is the attendance we recorded at our information kiosk on both Canada Day and Colonel By Day. Together, the two events drew 4,300 people to the kiosk. If you add this to the visitors in July, nearly 30,000 people (from all over Canada and the world) know we are here and have taken an interest in us—if only a mere 25,000 actually visited the Museum. It’s all good, and we couldn’t be happier with our first few weeks of business.
One key feature of the Museum was not available during these few weeks: the gift shop. Every museum needs a gift shop; it’s a traditional part of a family visit, but ours wasn’t going to be ready for opening day. We opened the doors at 10:00 on August 22. OK, it wasn’t Black Friday at the mall, but a very respectable number of visitors perused the items on the shelves on what turned out to be a miserably rainy day. We hit our targets on the following two days.
So, what’s the key performance indicator for the gift shop? To have a respectable day, the number of transactions should equal 8 per cent of the number of visitors to the Museum. This sounds pretty paltry, but the gift shop is not mandated to turn a profit. Its purpose is more closely related to the Museum’s mandate. The gift shop is a last chance for visitors to ask questions and to solidify or broaden their experience. It’s one more space for conversations about the Bank and the economy and is considered an “experience augmentation.” However, we still want you to buy stuff!
I will say again just how happy we are with our first few weeks of operation. The good reviews are rolling in, and we’re already well on our way to meeting our visitorship targets for 2017. Yay!
The Museum Blog
Security is in the bank note
Security printing is a game of anticipating and responding to criminal threats. Counterfeiting is a game of anticipating and responding to bank note design. This cat and mouse relationship affects every aspect of a bank note.
Teaching art with currency
From design to final product, bank notes and coins can be used to explore and teach art, media and process.
New Acquisitions—2022 Edition
It’s a new year—the perfect time to look back at some notable artifacts the Museum added to the National Currency collection from 2022. Each object has a unique story to tell about Canada’s monetary and economic history.
Money: it’s a question of trust
The dollars and cents we use wouldn’t be worth anything to anybody if we didn’t have confidence in it. No matter if it’s gold or digits on a hard drive, public trust is the secret ingredient in a successful currency.
The day Winnipeg was invaded
People on the street were randomly stopped and searched, and some were even arrested and imprisoned in an internment camp. Even German marks replaced Canadian currency in circulation—in the form of If Day propaganda notes.
The imagery on the Bank of Canada’s 1935 note series depicts the country’s rich industrial history.
Army bills: Funding the War of 1812
In 1812, British North America had no banks and little currency. With the prospect of war drying up supplies of coins, the government of Lower Canada decided to issue legal tender notes called “army bills” to pay for troops and supplies.
Between tradition and technology
What was proposed was a complete about-face from the philosophy behind recent security printing. If photocopiers could easily deal with the colours and designs of the current series, then the next series should be bold and simple.
Teaching the green economy
From windmills and solar panels to electric cars, signs of the green economy are all around us. Check out our resources for how to teach about the green economy.
Talk to your kids about money
Introduce important financial skills to your children, and help them plan for their futures with free resources from the Bank of Canada Museum and others.