The Lost Museum
October 6, 2005 10:31 AM   Subscribe

On July 13, 1865, one of the most celebrated institutions in the United States, the American Museum, burned to the ground. But thanks to the wonders of technology, it has been rebuilt—sort of—on a Website called The Lost Museum... As it was managed by Phineas T. Barnum, the original American Museum was located in lower Manhattan and presented an ever-growing collection of wonders across five floors, ranging from "cosmoramas" and wax figures, to aquariums and live-animal specimens, to "moral representations" in the Lecture Room.
Via the incomparable Common-place's Finding Barnum on the Internet.
posted by y2karl (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Veeery cool.
posted by R. Mutt at 10:40 AM on October 6, 2005


Possibly the most engaging link I've seen posted here in a year or more. Thanks!
posted by anastasiav at 10:51 AM on October 6, 2005

Great link.

Other P.T. Barnum museums:

The Barnum Museum (Bridgeport, CT) and The Barnum Museum at Tufts University (Medford, MA) -- which also burned down (in 1975), with Barnum's prized (stuffed) elephant Jumbo incinerated; all but a charred tusk and ashes -- which now reside in the Athletic Director's office in a glass peanut jar!
posted by ericb at 11:06 AM on October 6, 2005

Mark Twain was unimpressed with the place a couple of years later:
Now that Barnum is running for Congress, anything connected with him is imbued with a new interest. Therefore I went to his Museum yesterday, along with the other children. There is little or nothing in the place worth seeing, and yet how it draws! It was crammed with both sexes and all ages. One could keep on going up stairs from floor to floor, and still find scarcely room to turn. There are numerous trifling attractions there, but if there was one grand, absorbing feature, I failed to find it... Why does not some philanthropist burn the Museum again?
Great post!
posted by languagehat at 12:08 PM on October 6, 2005

Very nice post. I'm going back to explore.
posted by bardic at 3:55 PM on October 6, 2005

"This way to the Egress"

: >
posted by amberglow at 4:16 PM on October 6, 2005

wonderful link; thank you!

just please not to be posting in tiny font in the future.
posted by piranha at 4:43 PM on October 6, 2005

just please not to be posting in tiny font in the future.

But that's y2karl's signature post. Get used to it!
posted by ericb at 9:27 PM on October 6, 2005

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