If you want to see (and possibly smell) Justin Bieber‘s old sneakers and hockey bags, you better Belieb it’s now possible because a museum in his hometown of Stratford, Ontario is opening an exhibit in his honor next month.
Starting February 18 at the Stratford Perth Museum, fans and parents alike can visit “Steps to Stardom,” featuring dozens of personal items from Bieber’s childhood and beyond. The collection includes a large collection of running shoes — 50 pairs to be exact — each from a show during one of Justin’s concert tours. You can also see his first drum set, skateboards, an old hockey bag, and so on.
Fans may be thanking Justin’s grandparents — Diane and Bruce Dale, longtime Stratford residents — for saving and sharing the memorabilia, but we’re told Justin is the one who is most appreciative.
Stratford Perth Museum
John Kastner, the museum’s general manager, tells The Blast that while he’s longtime friends of the Dales and has communicated with Bieber’s team via email regarding the exhibit, it was most rewarding when he happened to meet Justin by chance at a local coffee shop last month while the singer was in town visiting his grandparents.
“I was in line for coffee at Tim Hortons and who’s in front of me but Justin — all by himself, friendly and gracious as could be,” Kastner said. “I introduced myself and thanked Justin for allowing this exhibit to happen. Justin’s response was, ‘No, thank you — this means a lot to my grandparents, so thank you for doing it.'”
Kastner added, “Justin couldn’t have been nicer and was so genuinely appreciative, so it’s nice to see it firsthand — a hometown kid who rocketed to global superstardom is okay with getting his own coffee and loves his family.”
Stratford Perth Museum
We’re told staff members involved with curating the exhibit are on their way to the Biebs’ grandparents’ home today to pick up the 50+ items to start physically organizing the display. Up until this point, organizers went through an inventory of 125 items of interest and have narrowed it down to the best of the best.
According to Kastner, the top five items from Bieber’s collection are:
A personal letter from Michelle Obama
Teen Choice Awards surfboards
A minor league hockey jacket with Justin’s name engraved on the sleeve in beads from when he was 12
The microphone that he used to record his first album with Def Jam Records
The plaque he received when his debut CD went platinum
Kastner tells The Blast that Justin is going to make an appearance at some point during the two-year [minimum] exhibit, so maybe you’ll be lucky enough to be there the day he shows up.
As Justin says, “Never say never.”