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.

Appears in 27 Episodes

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-Pie...

A Bit of France in Bridgeport, Connecticut

Barnum’s travels in France had influenced his vision for his beloved Bridgeport; this was clearly revealed by what he chose to tell the Atlas readers. Barnum adopted B...

“A Touch of Yankee” Solves a Problem

Mr. Barnum was infuriated by the demands of the Hospice Commissioners who expected a far larger percentage of the gross receipts than Barnum felt reasonable.

The Beginnings of Iranistan

Barnum’s homesickness coincided with and perhaps fueled his desire to begin building a country home for his family. Barnum writes about a future grand home in Bridgepo...

A Mountain of Worries

In this episode, we delve into a new “batch” of the letters P. T. Barnum wrote while in France and sent back to his family and business associates in America. These l...

A New Play for the General

P. T. Barnum’s famous protegee Charles Stratton, known to the world as Gen. Tom Thumb, was quite a young child when he was first introduced to European audiences in t...

They Stared with All the Eyes They Had

Have you ever tried to envision a visit to Barnum’s American Museum? I find it is a feat of the imagination to reconcile exterior pictures of the museum with the she...

Story Updates, and a Daughter’s Education

Back in Episode, A Mountain of Worries, we had wondered how Charity dealt with a rather harsh letter from her husband, written on September 12th, 1845. Would she repl...

Searching for Monsieur Guillaudeu

Curiosity got the better of our curator Adrienne after reading another of P. T. Barnum’s letters in which he mentioned the Frenchman who worked for him at the American...

My Success Has Been a Miracle

One of the many “beauties” of P. T. Barnum’s copybook letters from 1845-1846 is that they provide insights into Barnum’s attitudes toward money just at the point in hi...

Souvenir Medals, and a Snug Saloon to Draw and Read In

As we’ve learned from the July – October 1845 correspondence between Barnum and his business associates, the Tom Thumb tour through France, outside of Paris, had not l...

Read & Reflect, Then Do as You Please

Over the past few months of reading Barnum’s letters in his 1845-1846 copybook, I have been surprised to find relatively few to Charity, his wife. Though it is clear ...

A Tree Found, Tried & Shook

Since we are well into “apple season” here in New England (as well as in neighboring New York State, the country’s second biggest apple-producer), the title phrase of ...

“The Laborer is Worthy of his Hire”

In previous letters we’ve gotten to know some of the key staff members of P. T. Barnum’s team at the American Museum in New York, by piecing together details from the ...

Barnum & Catlin

In this episode we’ll explore the connection between P. T. Barnum and another famous showman, a lawyer-turned-artist, George Catlin. Catlin’s early 19th century portr...

Trumpets, “Venus,” and a Young Man, All Heading to America

In this Episode of Becoming Barnum, we’ll follow up on the status of new attractions Barnum planned for his American Museum in New York, and learn about another of hi...

My Mind is Occupied with Thoughts of Home

In this Episode of Becoming Barnum, it feels most fitting to highlight P. T. Barnum’s letters home to his wife, sister, and daughter. These letters were composed in t...

Tell Me Plainly What You Think

This episode of Becoming Barnum discusses another uncomfortable truth about showing human beings as curiosities, as we learn directly from Barnum. This letter came up ...

A Jolly Lot of Brother Showman

This episode of Becoming Barnum discusses some of his lengthy epistles to the Editors of the New York Atlas, for whom Barnum was acting as a foreign correspondent. Thi...

We Have Got Quite Territory Enough

This episode of Becoming Barnum discusses letters containing political remarks and comments about war—content somewhat different from what we’ve seen up to this point....

The Old American is Bound to Do Wonders Yet

This episode of Becoming Barnum discusses letters at the end of November 1845; P. T. Barnum's wide-ranging ambitions seem tamped down a bit, at least insofar as his co...

Last Letters from France

This episode of Becoming Barnum, Barnum sits down to write letters to various family members, plus one to his museum manager who was “like family” to Barnum, and anot...

Thank you & Happy Holidays!

Thank you for listening to 'Becoming Barnum: The Journey to Fame and Fortune.' We will be taking a break for the holidays but will return in the new year with more sto...

Bills and Boardmen

In this episode of Becoming Barnum, P. T. Barnum works to promote Gen. Tom Thumb's performances in London using various methods of advertising, including handbills and...

I Never Wish to be a Millionaire

In this episode of the Becoming Barnum podcast, P.T. Barnum addresses that he is aware that his wife Charity is pregnant. This information is revealed in letters writt...

A New Chapter for a New Year

In this episode of the Becoming Barnum podcast, A “new chapter” is about to begin in P. T. Barnum’s business life as we learn from a group of letters he composed—appro...

Going It Like a Rush

In this episode of the Becoming Barnum podcast, we dive into P.T. Barnum's 1846 letters to his uncle Alanson Taylor. He shares his business advice for their partnershi...

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