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 Press Room  

Barnum Museum receives $15,000 grant
from Fairfield County Community Foundation
to present a new exhibition, "Barnum's World of Wonders"

A brand-new exhibition, "Barnum's World of Wonders!", is being prepared in the museum's gallery, thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Fairfield County Community Foundation.

Scheduled to open to the public in mid-October, "Barnum's World of Wonders!" will provide the Museum with the opportunity to re-engage with the community and provide enriching educational events, activities and programs. Barnum's World of Wonders will feature many of the extraordinary items in the Barnum Museum's collection pertaining to P. T. Barnum and his associates, especially Bridgeport native Tom Thumb. Key artifacts such as carriages, Tom Thumb's miniature furniture, a centaur skeleton, and a FEJEE mermaid replica will be on continuous display. Most of the gallery space will be devoted to showcasing artifacts that help tell Barnum's story. ... Read More.

Getting There: Barnum’s juggling act included advocating for commuters
Published in the Connecticut Post, Friday, June 23, 2017

A Final Farewell from Ringling Bros: On Sunday, May 21, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey said its final farewell to a sold-out crowd of incredibly enthusiastic fans. Thank you to our fans for supporting Ringling Bros. through the years. We've been privileged to share the joy of The Greatest Show On Earth with you!

The Greatest Show on Earth ... Thoughts from the Director (01/16/2016 on

Our hearts go out to Feld Entertainment, particularly the Greatest Show On Earth family, with this weekend’s announcement that the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus will close its tent doors in May 2017.... Read More on

From the United Kingdom's DailyMail, October 16, 2016: Harvard museum dusts off curiosities long kept in storage, including mermaid figurine made from paper-mache and fish parts that P.T. Barnum once toured around the country to great fanfare ... Read more.

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.


September 8, 2016 - Kathy Maher, Executive Director has announced the appointment of Robert C. Cardillo to the Board of Directors of the historic Barnum Museum in Bridgeport. ... Read More.


August 10, 2016 - 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.

The Barnum Museum Receives $500,000 Grant for Restoration Efforts

July 14, 2016 - The Barnum Museum's restoration effort in Bridgeport was boosted recently by a $500,000 grant in aid from the State Bond Commission. At the July 12th bonding hearing the Office of Policy and Management, through the Department of Economic and Community Development, made the money available for the museum's architectural drawings. The drawings will be used for the museum's dome stabilization work and for the comprehensive restoration of the entire national landmark structure, which was damaged by a recent tornado and two succeeding hurricanes.

Left to right: Steve Tyliszczak, Governor Dannel Malloy, Kathleen Maher

Executive Director Kathleen Maher said, "The Barnum Museum extends its thanks to the Office of Governor Malloy and the entire Bridgeport delegation who works tirelessly on behalf of the Bridgeport community. We are truly grateful for their dedication and for being extraordinary champions for this great city and for the continued revitalization of the historic Barnum Museum."

Members of the State of Connecticut Office of Policy and Management during a site visit to the Barnum Museum. Barnum Museum Historic Preservation Architect and Engineers are in attendance to inspect the major structural concerns of the landmark building from multiple natural disaster impacts over recent years.

June 2, 2016 - Game Change: Author Elliot Forte discusses the entrepreneur P.T. Barnum and how his Art of Money Getting is the source of all business books today.



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

Obscura Day 2016: Behind the Scenes with the Barnum Museum

4/14/16 Bridgeport Daily Voice Article

The Cursed History of P.T. Barnum’s Museums
The greatest showman on Earth had a less-than-great run of disasters.

Kathleen Maher,
Executive Director of The Barnum Museum,
presents "The Divine Jenny Lind"

On Saturday, March 19, 2016
At the Ringling Museum of Art
Historic Asolo Theater
in Sarasota, Florida
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)


November 2015: Samurai box and armor components are now on display in New Haven

Following the November 7th opening of the Barnum Museum's samurai storage box and the discovery of a full suit of armor within, the box and a portion of the suit are now on display at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven, CT.

The spectacular helmet and two partial face masks, along with the red leather covered box gilded with the Matsumae family crest, are included in the exhibition, Samurai and the Culture of Japan's Great Peace. They will be displayed through January 3, 2016, when the exhibition closes.

A lively video production of the program, in which the contents of the box were revealed to the public by a team of experts, is currently in production and will be included on the Barnum Museum's web site by early January. Stay tuned!

Contents of centuries old Samurai box revealed at New Haven’s Peabody Museum...New Haven register, 11/07/15

Dear Friends of The Barnum Museum,

What an extraordinary time it has been! We have completed vision planning for the Museum's future exhibits with designers BRC Imagination Arts; restoration of the landmark building has begun; we have welcomed thousands of guests from all over the world to our many programs, tours and outreach events; we are launching a new exciting children's program; and we are thrilled to reinvigorate our membership family after a brief hiatus during disaster recovery.

I hope you will consider a tax-deductible gift to The Barnum Museum! Your gift will truly help us continue our work and bring inspiring new programs to all museum goers. The passion and enthusiastic encouragement of friends like you has inspired us to achieve wonderful things and bring a new and vibrant 21st century to life.

Our new Mission Statement is "To inspire curiosity, creativity and confidence through instructive entertainment."

We truly look forward to upholding these meaningful words and continue our service of giving joy and happiness to all.

Please think of the Museum and make a gift toward our continued efforts. You can also give a gift of membership to a loved one. Every contribution helps us move closer toward a vibrant restoration and reinvigorated Barnum Museum experience!

BRC Imagination Arts concept design for the future.

Kathleen Maher,
Executive Director, The Barnum Museum

"The Noblest Art is that of Making Others Happy"
P.T. Barnum, 1886

Please make checks payable to The Barnum Museum, or contribute online below.
All contributions are tax deductible.


Barnum Museum Awarded Grant to Film Unveiling of Unusual Artifact


The Barnum Museum will reveal the contents of this unusual box on Saturday, Nov. 7th at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.

A grant of $9,995 awarded to The Barnum Museum by Connecticut Humanities will enable the museum to present a public program on Nov. 7 in which a rare and unusual artifact, in storage for decades, will be revealed for the first time and thoroughly examined by a team of experts as it is filmed by Firelight Media Group, LLC, of Monroe, CT.

The Barnum Museum has partnered with the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven, Conn. to present the program during their current special exhibition, also funded in part by Connecticut Humanities. Experts from Yale University and The Barnum Museum's Curator will be talking with the audience about what they discover. The program will take place on Saturday, November 7, 2015 in the Great Hall at the Yale Peabody Museum.

"We are thrilled to have such a perfect opportunity to finally learn about a rare artifact which has been in our collection for a number of years but never examined," said Kathleen Maher, Executive Director of The Barnum Museum. "It is an honor and pleasure to be working with the staff of the Yale Peabody Museum to present this public program, tapping into the expertise of the curatorial and conservation team." ... Read More.

Barnum Museum: Building a 21st century museum from scratch
Connecticut Post | Phyllis A.S. Boros | August 28, 2015

FC Buzz: The show must go on – a vision for the 21st century
By Westfair Online | July 27, 2015

The Barnum Museum was established in 1893 by P.T. Barnum and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On June 24, 2010, the building was struck by an EF1 tornado that significantly damaged it as well as thousands of irreplaceable artifacts.

While the museum has become a model for disaster recovery; it must now become a living, breathing symbol of rejuvenation and renewal in the face of adversity.

Despite disaster-related setbacks, the museum is forging ahead with plans for the future. Working with BRC Imagination Arts (the award-winning, world-renowned exhibit designers) the museum is creating new and vibrant exhibits that offer learning through exploration, imagination and innovation, stimulating the power of creativity and sparking intellectual curiosity. ... Read More.

July 2015:

CPTV - Prohibition: Connecticut Goes Dry

Swedish Jenny concert on tap for June 30
By Phyllis A. S. Boros - Connecticut Post, Published June 25, 2015

Although once an integral part of the Barnum Festival, the American Jenny Lind competition for sopranos and subsequent concert with her Swedish counterpart is no more.

But Lind’s memory is as strong as ever at the Barnum Museum, which has arranged to have the Swedish Jenny Lind conclude an annual tour of North America with a concert in Bridgeport. ... Read More.

A great article on Connecticut Historical Society's new exhibit
telling Connecticut history through 50 objects
- of course P.T. Barnum is included!
Click through the photographs to see a lithograph
in the collection of The Barnum Museum.

Hartford Courant | May 19, 2015
Connecticut Historical Society's
'50 Objects/50 Stories' Defines State's History

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!

Steel girders shore up Barnum Museum
Frank Juliano | April 17, 2015

Connecticut Post -- Most property owners would faint if three large, heavy steel girders were brought in through an upstairs window and then lifted into the attic.

But something like that at the downtown Barnum Museum -- home of a real mummy, a fake mermaid and enough circus equipment to fill three Big Top rings -- was almost business as usual on Friday. ... Read More.

Some acrobatics involved in Barnum Museum project, Posted 4/17/15 by Jim Altman

It’s a project P.T. Barnum would be proud of, mostly because it’s a project designed to repair the famed Barnum Museum.

After sustaining major damage in the EF-1 tornado in June of 2010 and then the subsequent impact from Tropical Storm Irene and Super Storm Sandy, the Barnum Museum brought in the heavy machinery in hopes of one day re-opening. Due to the damages, the museum has been closed nearly five years. ... Read More.

Video Coverage from WVIT-TV NBC Connecticut: Big Step for Barnum Museum

WTNH-TV News 8 coverage

Bridgeport Regional Business Council's
Leadership Greater Bridgeport
Unveils Skybox at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard
in the Spirit of the Barnum Museum

April 16, 2015 -Leadership Greater Bridgeport, an affiliate of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council, (LGB), will unveil the newly designed skybox at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard in the spirit of the Barnum Museu. ... more information.

Animals in American Life: Pets, Performers, and Zoos

In SPring 2015, The Barnum Museum hosted an array of animal-themed programs which explored 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 was 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.

Barnum Museum: a state marvel in the making?
Connecticut Post | Phyllis A.S. Boros | 12/19/14

Anticipated to be completed in a few years, Bridgeport's "new" museum will be unlike anything ever seen in the Park City -- or, for that matter, in the whole of New England.

That's a bold prediction, but one that Kathleen Maher believes will be the case when the doors reopen -- perhaps by 2020 -- to the 1893 Barnum Museum, which was horribly damaged by a tornado in June 2010. ... Read More. Share on Facebook.

Jumbo: Marvel, Myth & Mascot
Presented by Tufts University
Featuring Andrew McClellan, Professor of Art History
Interim Chair of Romance Languages
September 23, 2014


June 2014 - The Barnum Museum Update - 4 years since June 24, 2010 Tornado - by Kathy Maher, Executive Director of The Barnum Museum

The historic restoration of the Barnum Museum is still underway from the massive damage of an F1 tornado, which struck Bridgeport on June 24, 2010. The Museum continues to conserve many of the artifacts that were damaged including paintings, furniture, Lavinia Warren's (wife of Tom Thumb) dress form and the miniature circus. A number of marble and metal statues, Tom Thumb carriages, furniture, costume, books, documents, and many small artifacts have already been restored and are on display in the People's United Bank back gallery at 820 Main Street.

As the museum continues to raise the millions of dollars needed for the full restoration of the historic landmark, The Barnum Museum is developing a re-envisioning plan for a revitalized guest experience with new exhibits and educational programs.

The Museum's People's United Bank Gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until August 30, and during event times. The Gallery also showcases The Lost and Found Circus, the Museum's most recent artifact, the Centaur. The museum is offering many educational programs throughout the summer so check this page for updates. The historic portion of the museum remains closed during restoration. No date for complete re-opening can be confirmed at this time.

June 16, 2014 - The Barnum Museum in Bridgeport is pleased to announce it has received a $15,000 grant from the Fairfield County Community Foundation ( The funds will be used to conduct a planning and feasibility study to help the museum respond to the catastrophic storms that have challenged the museum over the past three years and lay the foundation for creating an innovative, living museum that will become a national destination and a fitting tribute to PT Barnum. ... Read More.

'Humbug' or science? You be the judge
Phyllis A.S. Boros | Connecticut Post | Hearst Connecticut Media Group

04/09/14 -- Friend or foe, beast or brother, alien or human?

These were the questions swirling around the People's United Bank Gallery on Tuesday, moments before Barnum Museum Executive Director Kathleen Maher slid back the drapes to reveal the newest "curiosity" to take up residency here.

As the moment of truth arrived -- riding a crest of anticipation -- a chorus of oohhs and aahhs from the 50 or so amazed attendees followed.

It was a fitting reaction since the ancient skeleton -- displayed in a huge, glass case -- could change the course of history. ... Full Article.

Provided with permission | Credit to Hearst Connecticut Media Group

The Barnum Museum receives
a Grant for $34,213
from the
National Endowment for the Humanities

June, 2013 - The Barnum Museum recently received a competitive award from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Preservation and Access Division. The NEH is an independent, federal agency of the United States that awards grants supporting humanities-based projects in cultural institutions in a wide range of categories. The Barnum Museum is the recipient of a Humanities Collections and Reference Resources (HCRR) grant, a type that supports the essential underpinnings for scholarship, education and public programming in the humanities. ... more information.

2013 Barnum Festival Jenny Lind,
Kathryn Bowden and 2013 Barnum Festival Ringmaster, John Stafstrom

Kathryn Bowden of Glastonbury CT wins the American Jenny Lind Competition in Bridgeport

The 65th Annual Jenny Lind competition took place on Saturday, May 18, at the Recital Hall of the Arnold Bernhard Center, 126 Park Avenue, on the campus of the University of Bridgeport. A Connecticut winner, Kathryn Bowden from Glastonbury and a graduate of the University of Connecticut was crowned the American Jenny Lind winner for 2013. She was a member of the Chataqua Opera program in the summer of 2012. She is actively pursuing a career in opera at this time.

The Jenny Lind title includes a $2,000 cash prize and the winner will perform a joint concert with her counterpart, the Swedish Jenny Lind, at the historic Bijou Theatre in Downtown Bridgeport on June 27 at 7:30 p.m. This annual event is sponsored by the Barnum Festival with support from theNorden Club. ... more information.

Museum has Barnum-esque plans

Connecticut Post, March 6, 2013 -- When P.T. Barnum built his famous mansions and museums, the great showman spared no expense to ensure a modern, over-the-top experience that would incite curiosity.

Kathleen Maher, curator and executive director of the Barnum Museum, hopes to replicate that excitement more than a century later when the museum eventually reopens -- albeit with a more reserved budget. ... read more.

January 28, 2013:

The Barnum Museum receives $25,000 grant from the Fairfield County Community Foundation

IAAPA Hall of Fame Award presented to Kathy Maher, Executive Director and Curator of the Barnum Museum on behalf of PT Barnum's Family by Ron Gustafson, Chair of the IAAPA Hall of Fame Awards Committee and Public Relations & Educational Programs Director for Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury CT

Bob Masterson and PT Barnum Inducted in to the IAAPA Hall of Fame
During IAAPA Attractions Expo 2012

Induction Videos:
IAAPA website with text
You Tube PT Barnum


November 28, 2012: Quinnipiac University students help their professor uncover internal problems with historic artifacts from The Barnum Museum...more.

The Barnum Museum is delighted to be participating in a major exhibition
Circus And The City, curated by Bard Graduate Center in New York.

Working with Bard for three years with planning, discussions and logistics, The Barnum Museum lent an number of extraordinary objects from our collection including; P.T. Barnum's 1829 Top Hat, Tom Thumb's c. 1844-1850 Court Suit, Jumbo Promotional Handkerchief, Tickets, Barnum & Bailey and American Musuem Posters. Our thanks to our friends at Bard for opening such an exceptional presentation!

"Circus and the City: New York 1793-2010" runs through Feb. 3 at the Bard Graduate Center Galleries, 18 West 86th Street, Manhattan; (212) 501-3023,

NY Times Today Art & Design Article | NY Times Regional Article

On September 18, 2012, at The Barnum Museum in Bridgeport CT, Quinnipiac University professors Jerry Conlogue and Ron Beckett used a portable X-ray system from Kubtec to uncover some damage inside the plaster cast bust of P.T. Barnum created by Thomas Ball in the 1880s.

These X-ray images revealed a sub-surface crack on the nose of the bust. No visible damage could be seen on the outside. Quinnipiac University has had Kubtec's Kubscan CR scanner for two weeks and the professors were testing it at the museum to make sure it worked properly before they take it to Ecuador in January to study many mummies. Kubtec is a Milford CT based manufacturer of digital imaging products, so representatives from the firm were on hand to also make sure it was functioning properly. ... Read More.

From NBC Connecticut: Barnum Museum Using X-Rays To See Damage

Quinnipiac University professors are using X-Rays to see damage to the museum's collection caused by a tornado the hit Bridgeport in 2010. ... View the Video.

From The Connecticut Post: X-rays helping Barnum Museum repair damage

April 26, 2012

Recovery in Action Program Series Calendar

The Barnum Museum has been completely closed to the general public since January 2011 and the historic portion closed ever since the June 24, 2010 tornado hit Bridgeport. A unique exhibition called Recovery in Action is now being presented on Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the People's United Bank Gallery ... More Info.

Executive Director and Curator Kathy Maher talks about this life changing experience...on the Channel 12 News Blog - Part 1 and Part 2.

University of Mary Washington's Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series:
Humbug — The Art of P.T. Barnum

In an authoritative biography of Barnum, author Neil Harris, professor of history at the University of Chicago, describes the culture and climate of America in the 19th century that produced such an outsized, and sometimes outrageous, figure. ... View the Video.

National Trust for Historic Preservation Awards The Barnum Museum a Preservation Grant from National Trust Preservation Funds - Grant Will Go Toward Interior Schematic Design
Bridgeport's arts doyennes committed to city's cultural future
Used with permission of the Connecticut Post - April 9, 2012

Many in large part place credit for Bridgeport's visual arts renaissance at the attractive feet of five dynamic, tireless individuals who believe they are on an important mission.
All are women -- and none live in Bridgeport. Their names are familiar to artists and hard-core arts lovers, who consider them Bridgeport's arts doyennes. Beyond that circle, their names are perhaps less known. Yet these women are helping to shape the "new" Bridgeport, creating events to draw visitors downtown. They are the force behind the development of special events, such as the annual Bridgeport Art Trail.

Their names: Eileen Walsh, Kathleen Maher, Robbin Zella, Suzanne Kachmar and Marianne Brunson Frisch. ... Read More.

Tornado-Wracked P.T. Barnum Museum Needs Help Bridgeport Icon: 2010 twister clobbered one-of-a-kind shrine
Hartford Courant - 10/19/11

Were you to think of the half-dozen most enduring figures in Connecticut history, P.T. Barnum would have to be on the list.

The "world's greatest showman" created the circus that became the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, among many other entertainment ventures. He also served as mayor of Bridgeport, the city where he spent much of his life (he was born in Bethel). He is remembered in the Park City with a one-of-a-kind museum in an eclectic building that Mr. Barnum initiated. ... Read More.

March 3, 2011 - The Newtown Bee

Barnum Museum Begins Long Journey Back From Tornado’s Wrath
By John Voket

Following historic renovations to sites including the Statue of Liberty and the US Capital dome in Washington, D.C., Swanke Hayden Connell Architects has been awarded the contract to help restore Bridgeport's Barnum Museum, which suffered significant damage during a tornado that struck the Park City on June 24, 2010. ... more & to view video.

February 25, 2011: Swanke Hayden Connell Architects hired for restoration work on The Barnum Museum

Conservation work being done
on damaged 1865 Miniature Carriage.

Barnum Museum chooses firm to guide restoration
Connectictut Post - 2/25/11
Keila Torres Ocasio, Staff Writer

It took P.T. Barnum years to overcome the loss of his wealth and first mansion, the Iranistan, in 1856.

The tragedies did nothing to deter the showman, though, who went on to bigger and better things, including the creation of his famous traveling circus and the construction of three more mansions.

Now, more than 150 years later, Kathy Maher, curator of the Barnum Museum, is hoping for a similar, albeit, quicker, rebirth of the 120-year-old national landmark after the extensive damage caused by a tornado that tore through the city last June.

Maher announced on Friday the hiring of Swanke Hayden Connell Architects, of New York, to restore the museum, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Read more...

The Barnum Museum receives $40,000 grant
from the Fairfield County Community Foundation

January 2011 - The Barnum Museum has been awarded $40,000 from the Fairfield County Community Foundation (FCCF) to be used to match a $100,000 Endangered Building Grant received from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism. This grant was awarded in the fall of 2010 to assist with an extensive architectural review necessary to determine the full scope of the museum's structural damage which occurred during the June 24, 2010 tornado in Bridgeport CT ... more information.

The Windows at The Barnum Museum
were made beautiful again…
Thanks to the generous support from the
Visual Merchandising team at Macy's

The expert Visual Merchandising team from Macy's stores in Connecticut was at the Barnum Museum on Thursday, Dec. 9. doing what they do best, creating an ambiance in celebration of the holiday spirit for the huge plate glass windows fronting Main Street in downtown Bridgeport...More.

Barnum Museum's tornado damage could exceed $6 million
Keila Torres, Staff Writer

CT Post -- After further assessments of the June 24 tornado's devastating aftermath, staff at the Barnum Museum discovered structural damages to the historic Main Street structure are substantially higher than the $2.4 million estimate submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"We're probably exceeding $6 million at this time," said Kathleen Maher, executive director and curator of the museum, one of Bridgeport's signature cultural institutions. "A lot of it was revealed after FEMA came."... Full Article.

The Barnum Museum receives a $1,500 grant from the Fairfield County Community Foundation

(Bridgeport CT - July 16, 2010)- The Barnum Museum announced today that they have been awarded a $1,500 grant from the Fairfield County Community Foundation's Financial Management Assistance Fund to assist with the financial and operational management at the museum.

For more information, visit or click here for our press release.

More secrets revealed
about Bridgeport mummy

John Burgeson, Connecticut Post, March 20, 2010

The city's oldest celebrity has a few more stories to tell, even after 4,000 years.

Pa-Ib, the mummy that has both frightened and fascinated patrons of the Barnum Museum for decades, underwent her most extensive diagnostic examination to date at Quinnipiac University in January, and the complete results of that research will be presented at the museum Thursday evening...Full Article and Photos.

Quinnipiac Mummy Experts Explore
The Barnum Museum's 4000 Year Old Mummy 

The Barnum Museum receives a $20,000 grant just in time from the Fairfield County Community Foundation

The Fairfield County Community Foundation (FCCF) announced today an award of $20,000 to The Barnum Museum. The grant will be used to support the museum's general operating budget and comes right when it is needed the most to continue programming, maintain the landmark building and help support administrative and marketing expenses.

The Fairfield County Community Foundation promotes the growth of community and regional philanthropy to improve the quality of life throughout Fairfield County. Individuals, families, corporations and organizations can establish charitable funds and contribute to existing funds. The Foundation also provides philanthropic advisory services, and develops and leads initiatives to tackle critical community issues. For more information, visit or click here for our press release.

The last remains of Barnum's mansions
By Tony Spinelli
Staff writer
Posted: 03/02/2009 03:05:33 PM EST

CT Post -A drive along Clinton Avenue in Bridgeport reveals dozens of fine, large, old homes that in the 1800s were the not-so-humble abodes of some wealthy and substantial people.

And the most splendid "show homes" of all those in the West End neighborhood were those owned by Bridgeport's most famous resident, Phineas Taylor Barnum.

As one of the country's first 19th century self-made millionaires, P.T. Barnum built himself four magnificent homes in the city.

Full Article:

A History Of Museums, 'The Memory Of Mankind' by Bob Mondello of

If you add up the attendance for every major-league baseball, basketball, football and hockey game this year, the combined total will come to about 140 million people. That's a big number, but it's barely a fraction of the number of people who will visit American museums this year.

Museums are big business, attracting billions of tourist dollars, advancing science, and educating and amusing more than 850 million people annually.

"Museums are often thought of as nice amenities," says Ford Bell, head of the American Association of Museums. "People don't think about museums as being a critical piece in our educational infrastructure in this country." More on

No Clowning Around: The Barnum Museum Gets a Face Paint - Hampton Hotels' Save-A-Landmark Program Launches Renovation of The Barnum Museum
Centre Daily Times - Thursday, Sep. 25, 2008
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Today in honor of the iconic American showman Phineas Taylor (P.T.) Barnum, Hampton(R) Hotels' Save-A-Landmark(R) program ( kicked off a major initiative to restore The Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, Conn. The event drew support from the local community, as well as First Lady Laura Bush...more

Hampton Hotels employees spruce up Barnum Museum

Published in The Bridgeport News - Thursday, October 02, 2008

Hampton Hotels’ Save-A-Landmark program has begun an initiative to help physically improve the Barnum Museum.
The company donated $40,000 to the museum and organized a group of local hotel employees to join a one-day volunteer restoration effort at the downtown cultural landmark.

More than 30 volunteers from local Hampton Hotels spent about 150 hours at the museum...more

Barnum Museum Finds Key to Its Origins on eBay ... Article published on Americana Exchange

P.T. Barnum, (1810-1891)
The Man, the Myth, the Legend

By Kathleen Maher,
The Barnum Museum Executive Director/Curator

From The New York Times
By JOHN STRAUSBAUGH - Published: 11/09/07

Weekend Explorer:
When Barnum Took Manhattan

Click the video image above & scroll down to the center of the page to view a video entitled "P.T. Barnum's City of Humbug", featuring Kathleen Maher, Executive Director of The Barnum Museum.

Barnum put his stamp on Bridgeport: Connecticut Post - Hardly a day goes by without a reminder or two of Bridgeport's long association with circus impresario and showman P.T. Barnum...Full Article.

From The Boston Globe: Nestled between the intellectual pretensions of New Haven and the hedge-fund haughtiness of the Gold Coast, Bridgeport is a down-to-earth, ethnically rich community that also happens to be the biggest city in Connecticut...more

Archaeological dig a glimpse into past, published in the Connecticut Post, February 18, 2008

P.T.Barnum: The man and the Legend, published in the Westport Minuteman, December 20, 2007

P.T. Barnum, (1810-1891) - The Man, the Myth, the Legend
By Kathleen Maher, The Barnum Museum Executive Director/Curator

From The New York Times - Arts Section
By JOHN STRAUSBAUGH - Published: 11/09/07

Weekend Explorer:
When Barnum Took Manhattan

Today New Yorkers may think of Phineas Taylor Barnum only when the circus comes to town. But for almost 60 years he was one of the most celebrated figures in the city. He entertained and amused tens of millions here. When he died in 1891, The Washington Post called him “the most widely known American that ever lived.”... Link to Full Article

Click the video image below & scroll down to the center of the page to view a video entitled "P.T. Barnum's City of Humbug", featuring Kathleen Maher, Executive Director of The Barnum Museum.



Travel: Getting to Know P. T. Barnum - By Jack Kelly,
Remarks by the First Lady at the Presentation of the 2007 Preserve America Grants... Business Wire (press release) - San Francisco, CA, USA
Barnum Museum tips its hat to Barnum Festival: published in the Connecticut Post, July 1, 2007
The Greatest Show in Bridgeport: published in the 7/10/06 Connecticut Business News Journal
Are you my mummy (or daddy)?, published in the Fairfield Minuteman, October 20, 2006
The Mummy Talks: Scans Tell Us Barnum Exhibit Was Most Likely An Egyptian Mommy: published in the Hartford Courant, October 18, 2006
Barnum's mummy headed for radiology lab: published in the Boston Globe, October 10, 2006
CT scan reveals mummy likely mommy: published in the Connecticut Post, October 10, 2006
Correcting the Barnum Humbug: published in the Connecticut Post, June 4, 2006
Turning The Corner In Bridgeport, published in The Hartford Courant, October 22, 2006
Location, Location, Location Buoys Bridgeport: published in the 7/10/06 Connecticut Business News Journal

Press Releases...
March 3, 2007: Kathy Maher Appointed President of Connecticut Preservation Action
February 8, 2007: Disaster Planning for Those Charged with Preserving and Maintaining Historical Artifacts
February 3, 2007: Poetry Workshop at the Barnum Museum
December 9, 2006: A Poetry Workshop being at the Barnum Museum - Dianna Miller will encourage aspiring poets in a self-discovery process this Saturday
December 1, 2006: You know Christmas is near when Mayor Fabrizi presents his annual reading of "The Night Before Christmas!"
November 8, 2006: You're invited to a Tellabration Celebration at The Barnum Museum - Storytelling is alive and well in Connecticut!
November 8, 2006: Celebrate the Season in Victorian Style when the
Holiday Exhibits Open at The Barnum Museum!
October 16, 2006: Learn about the care of animals at Ringling Bros. from an expert - Bruce Read knows tons about Pachyderms, Felines and Alpacas!
October 10, 2006: 2,500-year-old resident of The Barnum Museum goes for a ride
October 5, 2006: Fairfield County Family Attractions to Offer Admission Discount Exchange for Members
October 14 , 2006: The restoration of P.T. Barnum's library and drawing room A Presentation by David Scott Parker, Architect and Restoration Artist
October 7 , 2006: Another Fun Family Saturday at the Barnum!
September 21, 2006: Insightful stories about the Museum's Historic Collections - A Presentation by former curator Robert Pelton
September 6, 2006: America's Promise Alliance Names Bridgeport, Connecticut: One of 100 Best Communities for Young People
September 7, 2006: The mystery of the mummy Pa-Ib: Renowned experts from "The Mummy Road Show" to explore the Museum's oldest artifact
August 24, 2006: Community Forum on the Local Economy and Culture to be held at The Barnum Museum
August 22, 2006: Exhibition Showcasing Baseball Legend Jim O'Rourke Open at The Barnum Museum!
July 14, 2006: Assistant Curator named for The Barnum Museum


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

 ©The Barnum Museum - All Rights Reserved