Tuesday Talk – “P. T. Barnum: The Man, the Myth, the American Icon”

September 29, 2020 @ 4:00 pm
$20 at Ventfort, $20 plus ticket fee for Zoom

Click below for a preview.


Kathleen Maher, executive director of the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, CT, will give a visual presentation here at the mansion P. T. Barnum.  Her lecture will take place on Tuesday, September 29 at 4:00 pm and is part of our summer 2020 series of Tuesday Talks.

According to Maher, “The Barnum name alone conjures up ideas and imagination, preconceived notions of a man and philosophy.  Known to most of the world as the ‘Great American Showman’ for more than 170 years, the weight of the Barnum name has forced associations of humbug and merriment, provoked thought and invited controversy, welcomed the cynical and engaged and challenged the skeptic.”

Although the Barnum name reminds us of the American circus legacy, that didn’t come about until he was 61 years old, when the circus collaboration was presented to him.  What was really the passion of his life was Barnum’s American Museum in New York City that revealed his ingenuity and innovation.

The museum was a place for family entertainment, enlightenment and instructive amusement.  It became a shrine for advancing public knowledge of fine arts, music, literature and the marvels of nature, showcasing natural curiosities alongside artistic and historic exhibitions.

Barnum, who lived for almost the full breath of the 19th century, from 1810 to 1891, was an entrepreneur, politician, urban developer, philanthropist, temperance leader, emancipationist, lecturer and author.  Maher will reveal the fact that “Barnum’s pioneering spirit of promotion and his acumen for business transformed popular conceptions of the era, in turn molding and defining many ideals of today.”

Maher has been executive director of the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport for over 20 years.  She has implemented numerous award-winning exhibitions and programs that explore a variety of 19th century social themes and historical events. Under her leadership, the museum, founded in 1893 and housing over 60,000 artifacts, is focusing on new methods of experience development, integrating history, arts, storytelling, science and technology as a plan for the museum’s future.

Tickets for the Maher presentation either at Ventfort Hall or via Zoom are $20 per person.  Reservations are required in either case.  To view on Zoom register at https://ventfort09292020.eventbrite.com

Seating with six-foot spacing at Ventfort Hall will be limited. For reservations to attend at Ventfort Hall call us at 413-637-3206. The museum’s traditional Victorian Teas cannot be served until further notice also due to the coronavirus.

The Summer 2020 series of Tuesday Talks are sponsored by Ventfort Hall board member Lucille Landa and William Landa.