All Things Barnum By Kathy Maher


BRC Hit a Star

I want to welcome you to the first edition of my new blog, “All Things Barnum”.

Thank you for inviting me into your lives. The idea of jumping full force into “All Things Barnum” comes after five years of challenges at the Barnum Museum that include a series of damaging natural disasters from an EF1 tornado, both hurricanes Irene and Sandy as well as consecutive winters of record snow storms.  Hard to believe, but true.

In the wake of all this there were only two paths to consider:  1) –  succumb to seemingly insurmountable challenges, or 2) – rise above the situation and spearhead the crusade to restore, revitalize and re-envision our Museum.  Collectively, we believe that this Museum matters in our shared human journey, and whatever it takes, it’s our obligation to this important piece of history to persevere, figure it out — fix it — and do it all in the spirit of its creator…P.T. Barnum

We have come to realize these enormous challenges were in fact, an opportunity to explore the boundaries of creativity and innovation, a chance to become something bigger and better than we were before.

What would Barnum do today?… so many people have asked.  That is the question that is driving our vision plans.  What we know for sure is that we need to live up to the extraordinary benchmarks that Barnum himself set; everything we do must look to Barnum’s fearlessness in embracing new technology, exploring innovation, celebrating the past while designing the future. All we do today will be measured by the on-going legacy of one of America’s pantheon of entertainment immortals.  A tall order indeed!

So how will we bring Barnum back to life?  I personally invite you on this amazing journey with us!  We’ll tell Barnum’s stories – the stories that defined him and that connect and resonate with us today, from the acclaimed Swedish opera singer, Jenny Lind, to the lesser known stories of his politics and personal beliefs.  I can promise enlightening and inspiring conversation.

Barnum’s most inspiring words to me?  The noblest art is that of making others happy.  I think that is a perfect way to start.

Kathy Maher

Executive Director of the Barnum Museum, Bridgeport, CT


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