Museum Hours:

The Museum's permanent collection of P.T. Barnum and Tom Thumb artifacts, carriages, artwork, and decorative arts are on view in Envisioning the Future!, located in the People's United Bank Gallery. Be sure to see our astonishing new acquisition, The Centaur of Tymfi--you will be speechless! From May 8 to August 30, 2014, the Museum will also host an exhibition of whimsical sculptures by Susan Tabachnick, The Lost and Found Circus: A Creative Balancing Act.

The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, now through August 30, 2014. Please note that our historic Museum building is closed due to storm damage from the F1 tornado that struck Bridgeport on June 24th, 2010. All exhibits are presented in the adjacent People's United Bank Gallery, at the rear of the historic building.

 

 Use the form below to subscribe to the
Barnum Museum eBlast Newsletter!

Read reviews on TripAdvisor

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! Consider conveniently joining today online! 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

     

    Wednesday, July 23 at 12:15 p.m.

    Barnum's Birthday Suit: P.T.'s Personal Possessions! Sneak Peek presented by Adrienne Saint-Pierre, Curato
    r

    For this month's informal lunchtime talk, Saint-Pierre will explain that yes indeed, P.T. Barnum was a real person. His well known name, philanthropic and other "larger than life" events during the mid to late 1800s, often led people to believe that P.T. was not approachable. The Museum is the proud steward of many of Barnum's prized possessions. Come see wonderful items from his daily life including his winter coat, inkwell, eye glasses and even his wedding top hat! No registration required. $3 Suggested Donation and kids under 12 are free.

     

    The Barnum Museum has become a national model for disaster recovery, and Kathy Maher has traveled from California to South Carolina speaking at national conferences on the importance of readiness and response to many natural disasters. Maher will also explain how the museum has been working to restore the historic building and is currently planning the re-envision for the future of this iconic and historic landmark with a 21st Century P.T. Barnum flair. Join us for this fascinating talk on resilience and perseverance! No registration required. $5 suggested donation and kids under 12 are free.

     

    Wednesday, August 13 at 12:15 p.m.

    Fabulous Fragments: The Preservation of Bridgeport's Architectural Past - Sneak Peek presented by Adrienne Saint-Pierre, Curator of The Barnum Museum

    The Barnum Museum's informal Sneak Peek series continues with programs focusing on the hidden gems in The Barnum Museum collection. If you have ever driven through the Main Street of an older town or city, you have probably marveled at the magnificent homes and buildings forming the streetscape. Thanks to historic preservation champions throughout the country, thousands of beautiful places have been saved and now define the unique character of our communities. However, many wonderful buildings have been lost to the wrecking ball or destroyed by fire, and only fragments and photographs remain as documents of them. Join Saint-Pierre for a look at some of the remarkable architectural fragments saved from the glorious buildings of Bridgeport's past, including Barnum's Iranistan and the Harral-Wheeler Mansion. No registration required. $5 suggested donation and kids under 12 are free. Visitors are encouraged to bring their lunch.

     

    Saturday, August 23, 2014
    from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

    Artist in Residence Workshop: Inventive Play

    Artist Susan Tabachnick, creator of The Lost and Found Circus currently on display at The Barnum Museum until August 30, will lead an informal workshop on creating small sculptures with found objects. Creativity begins with a good sense of play that leads to discovery and inventiveness. This "drop in" workshop invites you to "play" with an assortment of interesting found objects of metal, wood and ceramic to assemble and transform them into intriguing new objects, perhaps with their own whimsical personalities. Tabachnick will help you experiment and see the possibilities for how things can fit together or balance. Found objects are supplied, but you may bring your own favorites, if you wish. Appropriate for adults and kids, ages 8 and up. (We have wood blocks for younger children to play with!) Free admission, but donations are welcome.

     

    Thursday, August 28 at 6:30 p.m.

    Beauty and the Beast: Three Centuries of Architecture in Connecticut Presented by William Hosley

    William Hosley is the principal of Terra Firma Northeast, an independent scholar and former Director of the New Haven Museum and Connecticut Landmarks. Tastes and visions for grand architecture shift through time and Connecticut's landscape is spotted with examples of the elegant and the monstrous! Share in Hosley's explorations and findings, gleaned from many years photographing Connecticut's architectural features. Hosley will share his passion for architecture "that is the basis of ingenuity, imagination and aspiration" and share his desire to protect, preserve and interpret our historic past. No registration required. $5 suggested donation and kids under 12 are free.

     


    Lost and Found Circus in Bridgeport
    A display of whimsical sculptures
    by Susan Tabachnick

    The Barnum Museum is now featuring an amazingly original display, Lost and Found Circus: A Creative Balancing Act by Bridgeport artist Susan Tabachnick. The exhibition features a circus-themed presentation of small sculptures created with found objects, many of them incorporating old industrial parts and small tools. The components are not altered in any way, but are assembled into whimsical sculptures suggestive of the lively energy and humor that characterizes the circus. The assemblages give "new life" to items originally made for other purposes. Tabachnick never forces the unions and she doesn't weld or glue the pieces together; they must fit or balance.

    The Thursday, Friday and Saturday hours at the museum are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. ... more information.

     

    Thursdays, June 19 thru August 28 at 5:30 p.m.
    Downtown Thursdays at Historic McLevy Green

    Music brought to you by the Downtown Special Services District, the City of Bridgeport and Bridgeport's Art & Culture. For more information and to get the full schedule go to: downtownthursdays.com .

     

    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