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Barnum Museum plans $50m modernisation

The Barnum Museum, dedicated to the life and work of PT Barnum, is planning a $50 million modernisation as part of its recovery from a 2010 tornado. It is located in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

The Barnum Museum located in Bridgeport, Connecticut is planning a $50 million modernisation as part of its recovery from the damage inflicted by a 2010 tornado.

Dedicated to the life and work of PT Barnum, the founder of the Barnum & Bailey Circus, the Barnum Museum is working with design firm BRC Imagination Arts to create new exhibits and experiences.

A tornado struck Bridgeport in 2010, compromising the structural integrity of the historic building that houses the museum and damaging environmental and mechanical systems. It also exposed the museum’s collection to glass, moisture and debris. This was followed by further storms in 2011 and 2012 that caused additional damage.

Renovations to the building and restoration work on the collection to repair the damage continue, however the museum team is also planning for the future.

Museum Director Kathleen Maher told the Connecticut Post: “That was quite a time for the museum to really kind of step back and determine what that means as we move forward, and truthfully what was revealed rather quickly was that the museum was more important now than ever.

“We’re part of the state of Connecticut’s narrative and people are expecting great things to be happening in the next few years, and we are tooled up and set to keep up with that enormous momentum behind us.”

In addition to new exhibitions, Maher wants to modernise the building. It is all part of a new plan that is being finalised.

To pay for the reported $50 million cost, the Barnum Museum is looking at tax credit programs, angel investors, corporate investors and other capital raising possibilities. It has raised approximately $6 million since the tornadoes and storms with most going towards repairs.

The renovations are timely, with renewed interest in Barnum following the release of The Greatest Showman movie starring Hugh Jackman on December 8th.

Image: Garcicar

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Sam McCaffrey

Journalist. Likes immersive entertainment experiences, museums, zoos and the odd go on a Waltzer.

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