Museum Hours:

Hours: Our Envisioning the Future! exhibit, featuring artifacts that belonged to P.T. Barnum, Tom Thumb and others, is open for viewing and tours from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, year-round. The exhibit is in the People's United Bank Gallery behind the historic Museum building.

Please note: The historic portion of the Museum building is closed during restoration and rehabilitation of the landmark structure. The Museum offices and exhibit gallery are now located in the People's United Bank Gallery (the modern wing at the rear of the historic building). Follow signs pointing to the entrance from the plaza. The doors are open only during gallery and program hours.

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Hours: Our Envisioning the Future! exhibit, featuring artifacts that belonged to P.T. Barnum, Tom Thumb and others, is open for viewing and tours from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, year-round . The exhibit is in the People's United Bank Gallery behind the historic Museum building.

Please note: The historic portion of the Museum building is closed during restoration and rehabilitation of the landmark structure. The Museum offices and exhibit gallery are now located in the People's United Bank Gallery (the modern wing at the rear of the historic building). Follow signs pointing to the entrance from the plaza. The doors are open only during gallery and program hours.

 

Parking for the Community Listening Session is available at the Ralph & Rich's parking lot located behind the restaurant off of Cesar Bettala Way.

 

Saturday May 6th from 11am to 1pm at The Barnum Museum. The return of Atlas Obscura Day 2017!

The Museum will open its doors to all seekers of the rare, the unusual and the wondrous! Obscura Day guests will have the opportunity to join the Museum Executive Director and Curator on a special and private tour of the collections for a viewing of rarely seen artifacts including Tom Thumb's clothing, carriages and personal items, P.T. Barnum's wedding top hat from 1829 and the skeletal remains of the mythological Centaur.

In addition, guests will have the opportunity to join us on an exclusive hard-hat tour of the historic Barnum building. Currently under restoration, The Barnum Museum has been actively restoring and re-envisioning its future. Guests are invited to witness the recovery effort and learn about the Museum's exciting plans for the future!

 

Mr. Brinley (1917-2016): Thoughts from the Museum

The Barnum Museum pays tribute to our dear friend, Mr. William (Bill) Brinley who passed away September 11, 2016 at the age of 99.

Known for his magnificent "Brinley's Miniature Circus" model that graced the 3rd floor of the Museum from 1968 until it was damaged by the 2010 tornado, (have no fear, the miniature circus model is undergoing conservation to restore it back to its original glory), the miniature circus has been one of Fairfield County's greatest attractions. Hundreds of thousands of guests have marveled and enjoyed its splendor over many generations.

We are so grateful to Mr. Brinley and his family for sharing this important and wondrous legacy with us, and we are honored to continue our interpretation of circus history though Mr. Brinley's gift.

The Barnum Museum wishes all condolences and peace to the Brinley family. ... Read more on the All Things Barnum Blog.

The family has asked that any memorial contributions in Mr. Brinley's memory be made to the Barnum Museum. Donations can be made in a number of ways:

Donate Online:


Donate by Offline by Credit Card:


If you would like to donate offline by credit card, please call (203) 331-1104 x 100. We accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover.

Donate Checks and Money Orders:

Please mail checks and money orders to:
The Barnum Museum
820 Main Street
Bridgeport, CT 06604

Donate Cash:

Please do not mail cash. If you'd like to make a cash donation, please visit us during our public hours.

The Barnum Museum is a registered 501(c)3. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

 

BARNUM MUSEUM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RE-UPPED TO SEAT ON
CT HISTORIC PRESERVATION COUNCIL

Kathy Maher, Executive Director of Bridgeport's historic Barnum Museum has been re-appointed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to the Connecticut Historic Preservation Council.

The Council, founded in 1955, includes 12 members who advise the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) on critical historic preservation issues.

Maher said in accepting her appointment, "I am thrilled to continue my service to the citizens of Connecticut and safeguard the unique buildings, sites, landscapes and districts that compose the cultural heritage of the state". "While I am entrusted with protecting and ensuring the future of the great, historical Barnum Museum", she said, "it is so important to the citizens of Connecticut that all National Historic Landmarks, those on the State and National Register of Historic Places and Municipal Historic Districts are protected, cherished and celebrated now and for future generations.".... Click for full Press Release.

 

Barnum Museum receives National Endowment Grant for P. T. Barnum Historical Resources

Today history buffs, students, and researchers alike make extensive use of the Internet, and the Barnum Museum has long wanted to make its collections of P. T. Barnum material more widely accessible via the Internet. That wish will come true over the course of the next year and a half as the Museum, partnering with the Bridgeport Public Library's History Center, undertakes a cataloging and digitization project that will feature 1000 items in the to-be-created P. T. Barnum Digital Collection. The digital collection will be freely accessible to the public via the Connecticut Digital Archive (CTDA), which is hosted by the University of Connecticut and the Connecticut State Library. The records will also be discoverable through the Digital Public Library of America.

The project is funded with a matching grant of $190,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through their Humanities Collections References and Resources grants program. NEH grants are highly competitive, and proposed projects must justify the value of the material to the humanities, along with a detailed plan of how the project will be accomplished. "Receiving this grant is both an honor and an exciting opportunity to make our artifacts and archives accessible to people around the world," notes Kathleen Maher, Executive Director. "Each week we receive inquiries from people in distant places, both in the U. S. and faraway places like Australia, even the Fiji Islands. This project will in essence bring our outstanding collections to them."

Read more . . .

Conservator Christopher Augerson at work on a miniature rosewood bed that was P. T. Barnum's wedding gift to "Mr. and Mrs. Gen. Tom Thumb" (Charles Stratton and Lavinia Warren) in 1863. The bed is one of many rare items included in the grant project.
A miniature wool jacket custom-made for "Gen. Tom Thumb" (Charles Stratton), ca. 1850. The jacket features firemen's crossed axes on the sleeves, a clue that this may have been made for an event honoring Tom Thumb, who gave a generous donation to a Bridgeport Fire Company.

 

From Museum People, a NEMA (New England Museum Association)-produced podcast that celebrates individuals connected with the museum field by highlighting their work, passions, opinions, and personalities. Download Podccast Episode Eight: Barnum Museum Executive Director Kathy Maher tells what it’s like to recover from multiple disasters of biblical proportions: Episode Eight Podcast

 


 

We invite you to join us as a Vision Member
and be a part of The Barnum Museum's history

Dear Friends,

In 1889, P.T. Barnum wrote, "The Noblest Art Is That Of Making Others Happy." Although written 125 years ago, these words still underscore The Barnum Museum's vision and mission. As one of the longest ongoing museums in the nation, the museum remains true to P.T. Barnum's original mission; 'Instructive Entertainment.' For over a century, families from around the world have visited The Barnum Museum and experienced wonder, curiosity, surprise and enrichment. With exhibits ranging from a 4,000 year-old mummy to the recently acquired 'Centaur of Tymfi,' the Museum continues to amaze and enthrall guests of all ages.

Today, the Museum is emerging from damage sustained from a series of natural disasters and forging exciting plans for the future. We are thrilled to be working with BRC Imagination Arts (the award winning, world renowned exhibit designers) to create new and vibrant exhibits that offer learning through exploration, imagination, and innovation, stimulating the power of creativity and sparking intellectual curiosity!

We invite you to join us as a Vision Member and be a part of The Barnum Museum's history! As a Vision Member, you will have the opportunity to be enthralled by the wonderful and compelling stories of Barnum's glorious past, stories that will capture your imagination and create memories to last a lifetime.

Vision Member benefits include:

  • Free admission to Museum programs.
  • A complimentary copy of P.T. Barnum's famous book, The Art of Money Getting.
  • Member's Only" previews of new exhibitions & events.
  • Private Behind-the-Scenes Tours with the Curator.
  • Annual "Evening with the Director" soiree.
  • Invitation to the Annual Meeting & Reception.

I hope you will consider joining as a Vision Member, and become part of The Barnum Museum legacy. Please know how important Museum members are to our on-going objective to offer enriching programs! Simply click here and conveniently join today! As you consider your membership, please also consider giving an extra gift in support of the Museum's continuing programs, or give a gift membership to a friend or family member. As always, your contribution is tax-deductible.

On behalf of The Barnum Museum, I sincerely thank you for your kindness and support, and we look forward to serving you with enriching experiences!

With much Gratitude,
Kathleen Maher
Executive Director

 

Please visit our Virtual Barnum Museum for Exhibits & Collection Videos!

 

 

 

The Barnum Museum | 820 Main Street Bridgeport, CT 06604 | phone: 203-331-1104 | fax: 203-331-0079

    

Images owned by The Barnum Museum, Bridgeport, CT.  ©The Barnum Museum - All Rights Reserved

Made possible in part by the
Fairfield County Community Foundation