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 Events Calendar 

Programs at The Barnum Museum

All programs held in the People's United Bank Gallery unless otherwise indicated.
The Gallery is located at the rear of The Barnum Museum, 820 Main Street, Bridgeport, CT 06604


Envisioning the future! Exhibition Hours:

Our Envisioning the Future! exhibit, featuring artifacts that belonged to P.T. Barnum, Tom Thumb and others, is open for viewing and exploration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m on Thursdays and Fridays. This exhibit is located in the People's United Bank Gallery adjacent to the historic building.

Please note the historic Museum building is closed due to storm damage from the F1 tornado that struck Bridgeport on June 24th, 2010.

Admission to Envisioning the Future! is free. Suggested donation amounts or nominal admission fees are charged for most programs; please refer to our calendar of events for details.

Directions are available here. Street parking is available. If you have any questions, please contact or call (203) 331-1104 x 100.

Spring 2015 Program Series at The Barnum Museum:

Animals in American Life: Pets, Performers, and Zoos

Through May, The Barnum Museum will host an array of animal-themed programs that explore topics such as the history of pet ownership, the story of Jumbo the elephant and other 19th century elephants, the history of zoo-keeping, and Connecticut's own Beardsley Zoo. A portion of the program series is funded by a grant from Connecticut Humanities, a non-profit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. View the Connecticut Humanities Grant for Animals in American Life press release.

Please check this website for announcements regarding weather-related closures.


TEDxWestportLibrary Conference: Imagination
Saturday, April 18, 2015 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

In the third of the “Re-Tinkering —Libraries” series, explore imagination. Presenters include Irving Wladawsky-Berger, VP emeritus, IBM; consultant, IBM and Citigroup; Visiting Lecturer, MIT; Hans Wilhelm, one of America's foremost author/illustrator of children's books; Kathleen Maher, Executive Director/Curator at The Barnum Museum; Timothy Brewer, 3D artist, classical painter, musician, developer/programmer; and Erika Smith, Deputy Director at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute. The day will be moderated by Dianne Wildman, former Cablevision editorial director. Register online & More Information.


Matthew Scott, Jumbo's faithful keeper, is shown feeding the 11-1/2-foot tall elephant, whose popularity with the public of all ages became legendary and made him a celebrity on both sides of the Atlantic. Photo Credit: Collection of The Barnum Museum

Sunday, April 19 at 2 p.m.
Jumbo: Marvel, Myth, and Mascot
by Dr. Andrew McClellan of Tufts University

In celebration of the arrival of Jumbo, the famous African Elephant, in America on April 9, 1882, this program will explore the fascinating story of the larger-than-life celebrity whom P. T. Barnum purchased from the London Zoo. His legacy lives on today: "jumbo" is now a common adjective used to describe anything very, very large. Jumbo's image has been used by many companies as a marketing tool, and at the height of his popularity all kinds of household objects were made with elephants in their design. Dr. Andrew McClellan, professor of Art History at Tufts University, will present an illustrated talk with rarely seen images relating to the great beast's life. Dr. McClellan is an expert on Jumbo, having recently curated the exhibition, Jumbo: Marvel, Myth and Mascot (2014), and authored an accompanying book by the same title.

No registration required. $5 Suggested Donation. Free for museum members and kids under 12.


Wednesday, May 13 at 12:15 pm.
Zoomobile!: Animals and Animal Artifacts
presented by Michelle Gaudreau, Beardsley Zoo Educator

Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo Zoomobile will pay an an informal lunchtime "show and tell" visit to the museum, bringing small animals to meet program attendees. Michelle Gaudreau, Beardsley Zoo Educator, will talk about these and other animals at the zoo, and show a variety of animal artifacts that people can explore through touch. Come learn about wild animals and animal conservation programs at the Beardsley Zoo, as well as what we discover by looking at animal "artifacts" like skulls and bones.

No registration required. $3 Suggested Donation. Free for museum members and kids under 12. Bring a brown bag lunch if you wish.


Sunday, May 17 at 2 pm.
Connecticut's Beardsley Park and Zoo:
A History of Land and Tigers

by Gregg Dancho, Executive Director, Beardsley Zoo

Zoo Executive Director, Gregg Dancho will present a program about this National Register site's early history, beginning with the gift of land to the City of Bridgeport in the 1880s, and its transformation to a professionally-staffed, accredited zoo. Dancho's talk will also discuss how zoo-keeping philosophies have changed over the years. He began his career there as a volunteer and worked his way up to become park director in 1983. Beardsley Zoo, with more than 150 acres, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It began acquiring wild animals as inhabitants in the 1920's and was officially transformed into a zoo in the 1980's. Dancho will explain the parks' philosophies on acquiring and keeping wild animals as well as information about the many conservation actions in place at the zoo.

Dancho will discuss the zoo's current work to ensure the survival of Siberian (Amur) tigers.

No registration required. $5 Suggested Donation. Free for museum members and kids under 12. For information about the zoo contact 203-364-6565 or visit


Step right up and see the “Side Show”
at the Yale School of Art

The Yale School of Art (YSA) launches its 2015 season at the 32 Edgewood Avenue Gallery with “Side Show,” an exhibition devoted to the “believe it or not” world of the American sideshow, in which display of the abnormal and bizarre was the focus of the event.

On view January 13–March 20, 2015
, the exhibition is free and open to the public Tuesdays–Sundays from noon to 6 p.m.

“Side Show” presents more than 70 works by 29 artists — including Diane Arbus, Otto Dix, John Waters, and Riva Lehrer — ranging from the mid-18th century to the present.

The show includes original sideshow banners, props, promotional cards, photographs, historical ephemera, and works of art inspired by circus and carnival culture from the Yale University Art Gallery (YUAG), Yale Medical School Library, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the International Center of Photography, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and private collections.

Poster | Press Release | Curator's Statement
Exhibition Related Programs




Please contact the Museum for Membership information at (203) 331-1104.

"The Noblest Art is that of Making Others Happy"
P.T. Barnum, 1891


The Barnum Museum | 820 Main Street | Bridgeport, CT 06604
phone: 203-331-1104 | fax: 203-331-0079
Executive Director/Curator:
Kathleen Maher

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