Museum Hours:

The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m on Thursdays and Fridays.

Please note that our historic Museum building is closed
due to storm damage from the F1 tornado that struck Bridgeport on June 24th, 2010. All exhibits are presented in the adjacent People's United Bank Gallery, at the rear of the historic building.

The Museum's permanent collection of P.T. Barnum and Tom Thumb artifacts, carriages, artwork, and decorative arts are on view in Envisioning the Future!, located in the People's United Bank Gallery. Be sure to see our astonishing new acquisition, The Centaur of Tymfi--you will be speechless!


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Jumbo: Marvel, Myth & Mascot
Presented by Tufts University
Featuring Andrew McClellan, Professor of Art History
Interim Chair of Romance Languages



Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.

Mysterious Bridgeport: Wicked Walking Tour of Historic Downtown Bridgeport

This non-strenuous walking tour will be led by Michael J. Bielawa, poet and a historian at the Bridgeport Public Library and author of the book Wicked Bridgeport, which won the first annual New England Paranormal Literary Award. Bielawa's Wicked Bridgeport walking tour will focus on the Park City's macabre and fascinating downtown history. Tales of pirates, gangsters, ghosts, a Victorian Era international manhunt and the unsolved murder of a world-famous sea captain all lurk along the streets and alleys of downtown Bridgeport. Focusing on Bridgeport's magnificent historic sites, this fascinating program will guide guests through the intrigue of the city's 19th century streets. ... more information.

Bielawa will be signing and selling his books after the tour, when the group returns to the museum for refreshments.

The walk lasts approximately 90 minutes and comfortable footgear is highly suggested. Advance reservations are needed since the program is limited to 25 participants. General Admission is $15 and Barnum Museum members are $10.
Registration can be made only through or by calling 203-331-1104 to get more details. Recommended for ages 18 and older.


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! Consider conveniently joining today online! 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


    Sunday, October 19, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.

    Connecticut Main Streets Come Alive
    presented by John Simone, Executive Director, CL&P's Connecticut Main Street Programs.

    Simone will provide an overview of how Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC) fulfills its mission to be the champion and leading resource for vibrant and sustainable Main Streets as foundations for healthy Connecticut communities. A successful downtown is one that incorporates housing, retail, social and business opportunities with transportation options for all uses - walkers, cyclists, motorists and more. CMSC encourages dynamic downtowns through education, technical assistance and advocacy.

    The presentation also includes a description of CMCS's newest initiative, Come Home to Downtown. CMSC partnered with the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority to create this pilot program, which is designed to address downtown mixed-use redevelopment including housing. Since there are many buildings with vacant upper floors in downtowns around the state, the key questions are: Why aren't these buildings being redeveloped? What is needed to make that happen? This program is designed to answers these questions.

    No registration required. $5 suggested donation and children under 12 are free.


    Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at 12:15 p.m.

    Hot Off the Press: P.T. Barnum's Newspaper - Sneak Peek program
    presented by Adrienne Saint-Pierre, Curator of The Barnum Museum.

    Come to this month's Sneak Peek to see the museum's extremely rare Herald of Freedom newspapers from the early 1830s and learn how Barnum spent time in jail because of his publication. Sneak Peek programs are an informal lecture series focusing on items in the collection that are rarely on display. P.T. Barnum was truly a Renaissance man. Few people know that when Barnum was in his early twenties, he began publishing his own newspaper to circulate the democratic voice of the new nation. On October 19, 1831, the first issue of the Herald of Freedom was printed in Danbury. Occasionally sparking tempers and controversy through his writing, Barnum was sued for libel and even went to jail for 60 days.
    No registration required. $3 suggested donation. Visitors are encouraged to bring their lunch.


    Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

    An Evening with the Executive Director, Kathleen Maher
    By special invitation - Exclusively for Barnum Museum Vision Members.

    Maher will discuss the current state of the museum and reveal some of the exciting, innovative visions for the future of P.T. Barnum's collection. Everyone is welcome to become a Vision Member. Individual memberships are $25 and dual (bring a friend) memberships are $40. RSVP to to (203) 331-1104, ext.100, or


    Donate now to help the Barnum Museum Recovery!

    The historic structure of The Barnum Museum has been closed to the public since a tornado struck the City of Bridgeport on June 24, 2010 without warning and caused major damage to the building. The Museum's modern wing, People's United Bank Gallery, is open on a limited schedule: Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and for programs and lectures at other times.

    You can help sustain this legacy of P. T. Barnum by donating to the Museum's restoration fund.

    Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the unique 1893 landmark is the only remaining structure in the country that is directly related to the great showman and icon of American entertainment history. Thank you for your generosity!

    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