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.

 

The New York Times ... May 18, 2017 ... When New Yorkers Fell for a Singer They Had Never Heard / Jenny Lind, Swedish soprano.

 

Connecticut Open House Day
Saturday, June 10 at 11 AM - 3 PM at The Barnum Museum

Sponsored by the Connecticut Office of Tourism, the 13th annual Connecticut Open House Day will celebrate Connecticut’ s finest arts, culture, heritage and entertainment attractions. The one-day statewide event is designed to showcase Connecticut’ s Museum’ s, Zoo, Aquariums and Science centers, inviting residents them to discover – and rediscover –the wonderful array of opportunities in our own backyard.

The Barnum Museum opens its doors to Connecticut explorers and invites you to take a fulfilled guided tour of the remarkable collections and stories that illuminate Bridgeport’ s golden age. Free Barnum bookmarks will be given to all guests and light refreshments will top the day. No registration required.

 

P.T. Barnum Presents the Divine Jenny Lind!
Sunday, June 11 at 2 PM - 4 PM at The Barnum Museum

Join us as Kathleen Maher, Executive Director of the Barnum Museum, highlights the amazing story of one of the most successful collaborations in musical history!

Barnum created a musical and cultural sensation of singer Jenny Lind, whom he paid an unprecedented thousand dollars a night (some $30,000 in today’s dollars) to tour America in the early 1850’s. The “Swedish Nightingale” was then unknown in the United States, but thanks to Barnum’s promotion, the singer – lauded for her wholesomeness and devotion to charity as well as her operatic voice – became the hottest ticket anywhere.

Join us for a riveting presentation of the Jenny Lind & Barnum story and enjoy musical interludes that engage the senses and embraces the melodic sounds of a Jenny Lind performance.

No registration required. $5.00 Suggested Donation; free to members and children under 12.

 

Barnum's Birthday Bash!
Wednesday, July 5 at 11 AM - 1 PM at Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo, 1875 Noble Ave, Bridgeport, CT

Join us to celebrate P.T. Barnum’s 207th Birthday at CT’s Beardsley Zoo!

The Barnum Museum invites everyone to enjoy the 207th Birthday Bash in celebration of P.T. Barnum, famed showman, philanthropist and one of Bridgeport’s best-known citizens.

In addition to enjoying the opportunity to see the fascinating animals at Connecticut’s only zoo, the carousel will be operating and the party will feature a hilarious stage show, “Barnum’s World of Wonder and Magic,” produced by Center Ring Productions featuring Joe Barney as P.T. Barnum. The show will educate and entertain while telling the story of how Barnum changed the face of entertainment, not only in America, but internationally. The show is free with zoo admission and will be held at the Peacock Pavilion or inside the Carousel building, in the event of rain.

A Pie Eating Contest, sponsored by the Frisbee Pie Company will take place for all those eager to enjoy a fun and tasty competition!

Program is Free with Zoo Admission.

 

Lanterns of Magic!
Sunday, July 23 at 2 PM - 4 PM at The Barnum Museum

Join us to for a presentation of exciting, rare and unique magic lantern images that will showcase vivid and scintillating views of early circus spectaculars with Mr. Dick Moore, Historian and Collector of Magic Lanterns!

Magic Lanterns shows are the equivalent to today’s Power Point presentations, but they offer a wondrous, magical opportunity to step back in time and experience the thrill of acrobats and performers of bygone entertainment. As part of Mr. Moore’s extensive collection, he has amassed hundreds of historically significant lantern slides from the US, UK and France dating back to the 1860s.

Dick Moore is a member and past president of the Magic Lantern Society of the United States and Canada and a member of the Magic Lantern Society in the UK. He is also a member of the Circus Historical Society and Circus Fans of America.

No registration required. $5.00 Suggested Donation; free to members and children under 12.

 

How P.T. Barnum Helped the Early Days of Animal Rights | Published in The Atlantic | by Betsy Golden Kellem | May 10, 2017

The circus founder played a small, peculiar role in the nascent activist movement—one that would later cheer the end of the “Greatest Show on Earth.” ... Click to Read More.

 

PT Barnum and the Art of Money Getting - A joint venture of Walter Woodward, Connecticut State Historian, and Connecticut Explored, with support from the Sue B. Hart Foundation, at Grating the Nutmeg: The Podcast of Connecticut History.

In May 2017, the "Greatest Show on Earth" folds its tent after a run of 146 years. To commemorate, Grating the Nutmeg is honoring "The Greatest Showman on Earth", P.T. Barnum, with a look back at his life, and a full reading of his still so useful book, THE ART OF MONEY GETTING.

His 10 rules for achieving success and attaining wealth are still as sound as when he first wrote them, back in 1858. And no wonder, because as Kathleen Maher, Executive Director of The Barnum Museum in Bridgeport tells us, Barnum was not only America's first entertainment mega-mogul, he was the nation's second millionaire. Consider this a get rich quick theme in three parts, yours for free on Grating the Nutmeg.

 

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