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
Johnson’s entire family, two girls and five boys, was involved in the counterfeiting operation: dad made the plates, the daughters forged the signatures and the boys were learning to be engravers.
The Reluctant Bank Note
Among 1975 $50 bill’s various design proposals were three images, three thematic colours and even three printing methods.
Nominating an Icon for the Next $5 Bank Note
Using a Bank of Canada Museum lesson plan, nearly 200 students told us who they thought should be the bank NOTE-able Canadian on our new $5 bill.
The “Streak of Rust” and the King of Newfoundland
Reid was on the verge of ruin, yet insisted on continuing railway construction. Suffering huge losses, and with no credit or cash resources, Reid issued wage notes to pay his employees.
In January 2021, 17 of our old bank notes will lose their legal tender status—what does that mean?
The Fisher, the Photographer and the Five
There’s little doubt that the BCP45 is lovingly preserved today partly thanks to being immortalized on this beautiful blue five-dollar bill.
Where Futurists Feared to Tread
Among the laser pistols, hover cars and androids of science fiction, there’s an elderly elephant in the room: money.
The Bank of Canada Museum set some very ambitious goals at the end of 2018. We have managed to achieve more in one year than we had since we opened in 2017.
Private Atkinson’s War
Private Edward Atkinson’s example of trench art is what is called a “love token”—a souvenir made from a coin. It’s one man’s personal wartime experience expressed through a pocket-sized medium.
Bank Note/Billet de banque
The first Canadian paper money was issued in 1817, and for the next 120 years, the vast majority of Canadian bank notes were only in English.