Check Out The Barnum Museum’s Fall Lineup

From Mr. Barnum:

While works continues on restoration of the upper floors and other areas of the historic Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, tours and programs continue inside.

This fall sees numerous events of interest at the Barnum Museum, including the upcoming Sunday, October 9th presentation by Dr. Richard Kissel. Kissel, the Director of Public Programs at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, will do a fascinating presentation about Peabody’s 150th anniversary exhibition, titled, “Treasures of the Peabody: 150 Years of Exploration & Discovery,” which features 150 artifacts and specimens from the museum’s collections along with stories about the scientists and researchers who have shaped people’s understanding of life on Earth. It also explores 150 years of the parade of personalities that have been part of the Peabody’s history, from Buffalo Bill to P.T. Barnum and the connections between O.C. Marsh and P.T. Barnum. Back in 1987, the Peabody hosted an exhibition titled “The Showman and the Scientist: P.T. Barnum and O.C. Marsh as Collectors,” along with a sampling of P.T. Barnum’s famous circus.

Adrienne Saint-Pierre, Curator of the Barnum Museum says, “This continues the long history of partnership between the two museums, most notably last fall’s unsealing of the Barnum Museum Samurai Box at the Peabody. Thanks to both museums, it was extremely well attended with hundreds of visitors and videotaped for all to see again and again,” she added.

The upcoming program will begin at 2 pm. It is free to members, and a suggested donation of $5 per person for others.

Also scheduled this fall, two Wicked Walks of downtown Bridgeport, led by Michael Bielawa, Bridgeport Librarian and author of the book Wicked Bridgeport. They will be offered on Thursday and Friday October 27th and 28th, with Sunday, Oct 30 as a rain date. In the past, tickets for these events sold out fast.

Also, a talk is scheduled for Sunday, November 6th by John Strausbaugh, author of City of Sedition.


Bridgeport’s Barnum Museum is one of P. T. Barnum’s many philanthropic gifts. Completed in 1893, the architecturally significant building boasts a unique combination of styles and terra cotta ornamentation, and is listed on the National Register. Today the museum proudly shares the history and legacy of the world-famous entrepreneur, showman, and museum proprietor, who was also a state legislator, mayor, real estate developer and philanthropist. The museum is home to thousands of artifacts, many pertaining to Bridgeport native Tom Thumb and his wife, as well as the P.T. Barnum Family, and Nathaniel Wheeler Family. Their furniture, carriages, artwork and other items are currently displayed, along with a centaur and mermaid. Since 2010, the historic building has been undergoing repair and restoration due to a series of weather events that comprised the structure. The Museum is currently open for visitors in the People’s United Bank Gallery located behind the historic building, open for viewing and tours from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m on Thursdays and Fridays year ’round. There is no admission charge but donations are welcome.


Dr. Richard Kissel is the Director of Public Programs at Yale’s Peabody Museum, where he oversees Education, Exhibitions, and Visitor Experiences. He is a paleontologist, science educator, and author with more than 20 years of experience within the museum field. He is also a featured scientist online at NOVA’s scienceNOW and the National Park Service’s National Fossil Day site, and a faculty member for the online Museum Studies Graduate Program at Johns Hopkins University.


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