Top-level Collection

Barnum Museum
Phineas Taylor Barnum's impact reaches deep into our American heritage, and the story of his vast contributions are preserved in his Bridgeport, Connecticut, museum. Conceived and funded by P. T. Barnum, the Barnum Museum has proudly served an international audience since 1893, and is one of our country's great national treasures. The ornate, exotic building located near Interstate 95 and Long Island Sound has been called a "triumph of memorable architecture." Its distinctive style embodies the City and State's impressive history of invention, industry, and culture, and is a symbol of achievement and creativity. The collections include thousands of objects, artworks, and documents pertaining to P. T. Barnum, his family, and his famous associates, including Bridgeport native Charles S. Stratton (a.k.a., "Gen. Tom Thumb). In addition, the museum's holdings include early historic and ethnographic artifacts, and natural history specimens that belonged to the Fairfield County Historical Society and Bridgeport Scientific Society. The digital collection will expand to include examples of the latter, as time and resources allow.
P. T. Barnum Digital Collection
The P. T. Barnum Digital Collection draws from the holdings of the Barnum Museum and the Bridgeport History Center, Bridgeport Public Library, both located in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The 1000+ archival items and artifacts selected for this collection pertain to the world-famous showman, Phineas Taylor Barnum (1810-1891), and many of his associates, such as Charles S. Stratton (“Gen. Tom Thumb”), Jenny Lind, and Jumbo the Elephant, as well as his American Museum in New York City, circuses, four homes in Bridgeport, and other career, civic-life, and family-life topics. Both the planning and implementation phases of this project received generous support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.