The Road Explorer - Fall 2017 - 32
a unique conversation about exclusion
in immigration history and what that
meant for people," said Kovacevic.
Alumni tours for people who
came through Pier 21 as immigrants
are popular as well. "The people
want to show their grandchildren
where their Canadian story started,"
Kovacevic added. "It's a very,
very emotional experience.
"The museum is a celebration
of what immigrants can offer and
how Canada has been shaped by
immigration," she said. "Canada
would not be the country it is today
were it not for immigration."
Interpretation and Visitor
Canadian Museum of
Immigration at Pier 21
The Road Explorer: How has
the renovation of the museum
impacted your attendance?
Kristine Kovacevic: Since we
reopened in the summer of 2015
we've seen a huge increase in our
visitor numbers. Just this past year
we had more than 60,000 regular
paid visitors, and if you count school
groups, rental events and the various
programs that we offer, that number
rises to over 115,000 people.
This year is shaping up to be
incredible as well, with the Canada 150
celebrations and the Tall Ships Festival
in Halifax. We had 12,000 visitors on
an artifact; we have incorporated
games, dress-up stations and immersive
experiences for them. For example, you
can sit inside a ship cabin to see what
that feels like.
We also have one temporary
exhibit space on the main floor, and
we'll have something new in there
every summer. Right now we have an
exhibit called Canada Day One, which
traveled all around the world before
coming here. It's an exhibit about
what people experience on their first
day in Canada - their impressions of
the landscape, their first home, the
For 2018 we're working on a new
exhibit called Refuge Canada, which
will be about the history of the refugees
who have come here.
How do you keep the
exhibits fresh so that people
will want to return?
Does your increasing
We have taken a slightly different
approach to our exhibits. Our
visitors don't just look at a panel or
We are trying to spread visitations
out a little more over the year. In
the summer, we are bustling with
activity; there are people everywhere
all the time. But come December
it slows down. So we are always
trying to think of ways to try to
push the shoulder seasons and to
encourage people to come into the
museum during those down times.
We are doing a lot of work with
different public programs, and that
is really starting to get folks into the
museum throughout the year.
The Road Explorer
How are you working with the
motor coach industry?
Since 2015 we have been refocusing
on our motor coach guests, and it's had
a big payoff; we have tripled our motor
coach visits. This year, as of mid-July,
we've already had 3,500 visitors on
I've become part of OMCA and the
American Bus Association and I go to
their marketplaces every year. I meet a
lot of people and make sure that they
recognize our museum. That's making a
We have bus parking on site, and we
offer a special group rate for motor coach
visitors. In the past year we've had to
raise our regular admission rates, but we
were able to keep our motor coach group
pricing the same as in 2016. The group
rate is about 35 percent less than regular
admission, so that makes quite a difference.
Why do you think Pier 21 is
drawing so much attention?
We have been doing a lot of marketing
to increase awareness of the museum.
We work with a lot of local destination
organizations to make sure that we keep
the museum top of mind to our visitors.
But I think it's also because there is
something really special about coming
to a museum and learning about your
own past, your own family history.
That's what we really specialize in,
helping people rediscover their own
roots. There aren't a lot of museums
where you can do that.