Up to date information on the comings and goings in The Diefenbunker: Canada's Cold War Museum. Also a behind the scenes look at how the museum operates and how the museum team is working after our capacity expansion project to which grew our capacity from 60 to 420 in July 2010!

What Increased Capacity Means

Posted by Eric Espig On 11:38

The building capacity project will allow us to truly fulfill our mandate by producing more opportunities for the general public and stakeholders to connect to our museum. Once we can allow 500 people in the building at any given time, our ability to mount exhibitions, special events, performances, research activity and educational
programs will dramatically increase. Our collection and preservation activities will also be increased. Specifically and most importanly, once the Diefenbunker is up to full occupancy we will be able to open the museum for self-guided tours. Currently, the public can only access the museum through a guided tour once per day during the week and four times daily on the weekend. Guided tours are necessary, as it is the only way that the museum can restrict visitorship to 60 people at any given time. We are not able to add more guided tours because of limitation on volunteer hours and costs associated with hiring more student guides.

The occupancy issue severely restricts the growth and development of curatorial programming, in that it makes no sense to develop exhibitions and re-creations for an audience that can only access it through a time-burdened tour. Once this issue is resolved, we can change its public hours of operation, allowing visitors to spend as little or as much time on independent viewing as they choose, as well as having the option of taking one of our specialized tours. We would expect to see a dramatic increase in its general attendance figure as a consequence of this project,which will result in an increase of revenue. Public and event-based programming will also be enhanced by this project. The Diefenbunker will develop lectures, symposiums, theatrical andmusical performances, as well as corporate and community functions and fundraising dinners and dances for the general public.We will endeavour to increase financial independence by offering corporate and private rentals of space for a fee. Potentially, we could increase our visitor numbers by 800% as a result of this ability to house more people in the building. Realisitically, we are projecting more modest numbers—50% in the five years following project completion. Increased attendance will result in increased revenue, which will in turn increase budgets for marketing, exhibitions and public programming events which we will host and organize. Facility rentals are also expected to increase by at least 25%. All revenue from non-museumrelated activity will be directed back to exhibitions, conservation and programs. This retrofit project will allow the Diefenbunker to become a fully functioning museum.This relatively modest renovation project is necessary for any future growth in the organization.