Our Mission: To Inspire curiosity, creativity and confidence through instructive entertainment


Museum 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, and on "Summer Saturdays" from May 30th through September 5th. This exhibit is located in the People's United Bank Gallery adjacent to the historic building.

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

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One of many company teams in Bridgeport at the turn of the 20th century, the Sewing Machine Cabinet Co. baseball team is shown in this photograph dated August 1900.

Sunday, June 7 at 2 p.m.
Barnum in the Batter's Box: The Showman's Role in Bringing Baseball to Bridgeport
- Presented by Michael J. Bielawa

The name P. T. Barnum brings to mind the circus, yet Barnum had many careers and wide-ranging interests, including as Mayor of Bridgeport. His efforts to bring new industries, such as clock and sewing machine manufacture, to develop the fledgling city brought about a surprising result: baseball teams. Some say Barnum loathed baseball, but perhaps that isn't quite correct. Enjoy the little known stories of early baseball teams in the Park City as baseball historian, author, and poet Michael Bielawa reveals a newly discovered facet of the showman's legacy to his adopted home town.

Michael J. Bielawa has authored histories focusing on New England and Louisiana baseball, including Baseball in Baton Rouge, From FarField to Newfield: The Baseball Dream of Orator Jim O'Rourke and Bridgeport Baseball. His numerous essays have addressed such diverse subjects as baseball symbolism in James Joyce's Ulysses and the mysterious disappearance of a Hartford minor league manager. Bielawa's work on early Queens's, New York baseball and the first All-Star Game (which took place in 1858) appeared in Major League Baseball's Official 2013 All-Star Game Program. Bielawa is a roving baseball consultant for museums, minor league clubs, state humanities councils and libraries. He has discussed baseball history on local radio and TV. Each year on March 17, Michael dons a vintage 1904 Bridgeport Orators uniform and joins elected officials at the head of Bridgeport's St. Patrick's Day Parade in memory of Bridgeport-born Hall of Famer, James O'Rourke.

Suggested donation: $5. Members and children under 12 are free.


The Show Must Go On: Re-envisioning Barnum | Kathleen Maher | TEDxWestportLibrary - April18, 2015

Kathleen Maher presents how Barnum recovered
from many fires and other disasters in his personal and public life.
She demonstrates how Barnum's phoenix-like abilities
are being used to breathe new life into the current Barnum Museum
severely damaged by a tornado in 2010.


The Jenny Lind Concert featuring the
Swedish Royal Academy of Music competition winners
will take place at the Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport
the evening on Tuesday, June 30th.
Stay tuned for details!

Jenny Lind Concerts across the Nation:

Jenny Lind Concert- North American Tour:
June 18th in San Francisco

Located in Chicago, IL.
Details on the SAM Jenny Lind Concert coming soon!


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



Sunday, July 19 at 2 PM
Celebrate the Life of Art Young
at The Barnum Museum - P.T. Barnum's "Brother from Another Mother" - presented by Marc Moorash on behalf of the Bethel Historical Society

The Barnum Museum will host Art Young... P.T. Barnum's Brother From Another Mother on Sunday, July 19 at 2 p.m. This event is in celebration of the humor and poignancy of the late Bethel, Connecticut illustrator, Art Young. The program will be presented by Marc Moorash on behalf of the Bethel Historical Society.

Art Young was the best known illustrator in the country from 1900 to 1940. He did his work from his home on four acres of farmland in Bethel where he built a public art gallery. His art ranged from Americana folkishness to political cartoons. Recently, his manuscript, Types of the Old Home Town, was restored and published by the Bethel Historical Society.

The program will explore Young's images and stories from Types of the Old Home Town, and will feature a discussion of Art Young's admiration and connection to P.T. Barnum. Join us to celebrate the 40 years that the "Dean of American Cartoonists" and "Bethel's Ambassador to New York" resided in Connecticut. There will also be a dozen original Young illustrations on display at the event

Art Young's illustrations were published in nearly every magazine of his day, including, Life, The Masses, The Saturday Evening Post, Metropolitan, Cosmopolitan, The New Yorker, Puck and Judge.

Copies of the manuscript, Types of the Old Home Town, will be available for purchase at the event for $40 each. ... more information.



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.


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


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

Made possible in part by the
Fairfield County Community Foundation