An Introduction to Becoming Barnum: Interview with Barnum Museum Curator

In this episode of the "Becoming Barnum" podcast, we sit down with Adrienne Saint-Pierre, the Curator of the Barnum Museum's artifact collection and archive. Saint-Pierre explains what a "copybook" is and how the 750-page copybook of letters in the museum's collection offers a unique window into the life and mind of P.T. Barnum. She discusses what listeners can expect to learn about Barnum throughout the course of the podcast and the insights that his letters provide into his personal and professional life. Tune in to hear Saint-Pierre's expert perspective and get a preview of the fascinating journey ahead.
Date: 7/20/22
BECOMING BARNUM: The Journey to Fame and Fortune
An Introduction to Becoming Barnum: Interview with the Barnum Museum Curator - Episode 1

Today, we discuss an exciting museum exhibit, a Bound volume of copied letters in P.T. Barnum's hand, dating from July 1845 to August 1846. This volume contains a wealth of primary information dating to the most significant period in Barnum's early career. This book dates to Barnum's 1844-1846 tour of Europe, during which he introduced his star performer, Charles S. Stratton (1838 -1883), better known by his stage name "General Tom Thumb," to European heads of state, royalty, and the public. The letters date to Barnum's and Stratton's travels in France, following a highly successful year in England where Stratton was granted multiple audiences with Queen Victoria. Barnum's letters contain anecdotes of the trip, and information about how he organized the performances at each location, how much he paid people for their services, the venues he rented, and so on.

Learn more about PT Barnum’s Letter Copy Book here: 

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Creators and Guests

William Sarris
William Sarris
Voice actor and narrator. He has narrated over 90 audiobooks and numerous e-learning and web training courses, and has been the voice of radio, TV and web commercials and other content for companies like Pfizer, Pepsi, Lexus, GE, and amFAR.
Adrienne Saint-Pierre
Adrienne Saint-Pierre
Adrienne Saint-Pierre is the Barnum Museum's Curator, a position she has held since 2010. During the 2020-2021 pandemic shut down she mined the contents of a huge copybook containing P. T. Barnum's early letters, writing weekly blog posts to share the intriguing stories they contain. Her 75 posts have been transformed into the podcast series, Becoming Barnum: The Journey to Fame and Fortune.
Kathy Maher
Kathy Maher
Kathleen Maher is the Executive Director of the Barnum Museum and has over 30 years of experience in museum work. She is a noted authority on Phineas Taylor Barnum and has developed numerous award-winning exhibitions and programs exploring 19th-century social and historical themes. Maher is known for her disaster recovery efforts, having saved the Barnum Museum from an EF1 tornado and both Hurricane Irene and Super Storm Sandy. Under her leadership, the Barnum Museum is focusing on new methods of audience engagement and is becoming a global model for disaster recovery and resilience. Maher has made appearances as a guest historian on various news and media outlets, including the History Channel, A&E, MSG, BBC, AHC, Travel Channel, PBS, NECN, CPTV, and NPR. She has also given a TEDx talk and has been featured in the NY Times, Hartford Courant, and Associated Press. Maher holds gubernatorial appointments to various cultural and historical organizations in Connecticut and was awarded the Tourism Leader of the Year in 2019.
Rui Pinho
Rui Pinho
Podcast editor for Becoming Barnum, with a strong background in media production and project management. He excels in creating engaging final cuts and has a proven track record of producing high-quality content across social media platforms. In addition to podcast editing, Rui is also an accomplished aerial photographer and videographer. His passion and expertise make him an invaluable asset to any project.
An Introduction to Becoming Barnum: Interview with Barnum Museum Curator
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