Mother Nature has been rude to the Barnum Museum. It started with a tornado in 2010 and then more followed.
The good news is work has begun on the exterior of the building.
A progress report from museum Executive Director Kathy Maher:
On June 24, 2010, an EF-1 tornado struck the Barnum Museum. Colossal winds slammed into the historic structure compromising structural integrity of the building, contaminating the environmental and mechanical systems, shattering windows, and exposing collections to a vicious burst of glass, moisture, and debris. Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy followed, causing additional damage in 2011 and 2012. The Museum has since been engaged in a full-scale conservation effort to recover and preserve thousands of artifacts, and to stabilize and restore the building to its original, majestic state.
Today, operations and public programming have been curtailed to manage the ongoing disaster mitigation and recovery. After an initial cleanup and relocation of the artifacts (with support from many colleagues in the Connecticut cultural community), hundreds of objects have been treated for damage. Once the collection was finally safe and documented, building assessment and stabilization began. To date, steel girders and columns have been installed to prevent further deflection, and reconstruction of the east wall has been accomplished. The massive, iconic dome stabilization was completed in 2018.
After long and challenging obstacles, the highly anticipated exterior construction of the glorious historic Barnum Museum has begun! With scaffolding going up, and steel supports coming in, extensive and urgently needed preservation work will be done to repair and restore the national landmark building in the heart of P.T. Barnum’s beloved Bridgeport. We are excited and focused on the great work ahead of us.
The future of the Museum and our ability to carry on the legacy of P.T. Barnum depends on the continued financial support of loyal patrons like you.
The Barnum Museum is a vital, unique American treasure and I sincerely hope you will be a part of this extraordinary tale by donating to our 2023 Shoot For The Sun Appeal!
The Barnum Museum remains closed as we ready the site and begin major construction of the historic exterior. We apologize for this inconvenience, but a new, immersive, 21st century Barnum Museum is on the horizon.
The Barnum Museum has continued efforts to keep the major historic restoration and rehabilitation on track. The Museum is officially an active construction site, and scaffolding is scheduled to encircle the glorious exterior of the building soon.
We are truly grateful for all your wonderful support as we continue work to save and revitalize the historic landmark! We regret the need to close our galleries to the public due to construction, but do check out the Barnum Museum YouTube channel, which has over one hundred professionally produced videos, taking you behind the scenes and offering a wealth of stories about artifacts and little-known tales about P. T. Barnum himself.
The Barnum Museum is closed during construction. Read More about the restoration process.
Your contribution will enable the Museum to reach our goals:
— To fully rehabilitate and revitalize the historic Barnum Museum.
— To sustain the Barnum Museum’s relevance in the educational and tourism communities.
— To explore and expand new channels of interpretation and programming to meet the needs of 21st century audiences.
— To define the Museum as a leader in community engagement and intellectual exchange on a local, national and global scale.
It is an exciting time for the Barnum Museum! We welcome you will join us in this new journey! THANK YOU!