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Friday, December 15, 2017

Barnum Museum chooses firm to guide restoration

Marble busts, including one of P.T. Barnum, sit in the center of the first floor of The Barnum Museum awaiting relocation during restoration of the historic building following damage to its structure during the June 24, 2010 tornado. Marble busts, including one of P.T. Barnum, sit in the center of the first floor of The Barnum Museum awaiting relocation during restoration of the historic building following damage to its structure during the June 24, 2010 tornado. Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Connecticut Post

It took P.T. Barnum years to overcome the loss of his wealth and first mansion, the Iranistan, in 1856.

The tragedies did nothing to deter the showman, though, who went on to bigger and better things, including the creation of his famous traveling circus and the construction of three more mansions.

Now, more than 150 years later, Kathy Maher, curator of the Barnum Museum, is hoping for a similar, albeit, quicker, rebirth of the 120-year-old national landmark after the extensive damage caused by a tornado that tore through the city last June.

Maher announced on Friday the hiring of Swanke Hayden Connell Architects, of New York, to restore the museum, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

SHCA's previous restoration projects include the Statue of Liberty and the West Virginia State Capitol Complex.

Funding for the $250,000 assessment project was provided by numerous organizations, including the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, the Fairfield County Community Foundation, the People's United Community Foundation and the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism.

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