Museum 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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May 24, 2016 - Next year marks the 100th Anniversary of this country's entry into World War One. In an effort to help preserve this significant part of our history, the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport will be assisting the Connecticut State Library in gathering old photos, documents, mementoes and other materials from the war to digitize them and preserve them in the Connecticut Digital Archives.
On Tuesday May 24th from 11:00am until 3:00pm, area residents can bring in their photos, letters and other keepsakes to have them made in to digital copies, safely and easily. ... Read More.

Bridgeport was heavily involved in manufacturing munitions and arms even before the U.S. entered the war. Do you have ancestors who worked in the factories? Credit: Connecticut Digital Newspaper Project
Items need not be Connecticut-related. This photograph from Washington, D.C. shows soldiers returning from the war. Credit: Library of Congress

Barnum Museum seeks WWI artifacts to preserve history
Connecticut Post, May 19, 2017


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


Barnum Museum battles back with new vision
By Bill Fallon | Faifield County Business Fournal
February 11, 2016

Call it the trifecta from hell.

In short order for The Barnum Museum in Bridgeport beginning June 24, 2010, the red stone and terra cotta landmark was the victim of a tornado that homed in like the museum had a bull’s-eye on it. That was followed by hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy.

Piling on the injuries, the museum’s 20,000 artifacts —many of them paper — were in danger of the same fate as Tom Thumb’s carriage, which is now restored, but which was ravaged to the point of destruction by the uncontrolled humidity that accompanied the more explosive weather damage.

To date, $3.8 million has been spent salvaging artifacts and shoring up the building.

It would seem the sort of karmic pile-up to send a responsible person searching for cover or even for the egress, P.T. Barnum’s famous exit sign.

Not so in the case of Alice Ferreira, who was named chairwoman of The Barnum Museum board of directors in January. ... Read More.


Secrets of the Samurai Box Revealed ... With an audience of 300 curious onlookers, the Barnum Museum, assisted by Yale Peabody Museum staff, revealed for the first time the contents of a samurai armor box in the museum collection. (Program on 11/7/15)



The Barnum Museum Names Alice Ferreira Chairperson of the Board

The Barnum Museum has named Alice Ferreira chairman of the board of directors of The Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, Conn.

A board member since 2009, she recently served as Secretary for the Museum. She is currently a vice president for corporate communications for UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune 14 company.

"P.T. Barnum was the ultimate strategic publicist and a bold and innovative leader and we have much to learn about him and from him. His enduring legacy continues to inspire people to tap into their personal power of creativity and imagination, " she said. " We look forward to keeping his spirit, lessons and stories alive for generations to come."

"We are at a crucial point in our history, ready to re-emerge as a center for creativity and inspiration and a major cultural destination. We are embarking on a re-imagining of the Museum, and there is no better time to be at the forefront of an organization that will have a lasting impact on everyone in our community, our country and the world," said executive director Kathy Maher. ... Read More.




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


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


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Made possible in part by the
Fairfield County Community Foundation