PT Barnum's legacy lives on in CT - WFSB 3 Connecticut

PT Barnum's legacy lives on in CT

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"The Greatest Show on Earth" will soon be having its last show on earth.

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus is shutting down after a 146 year run.

One of the founders, PT Barnum, had strong ties to Connecticut, and a museum in Bridgeport honors his many contributions.

PT Barnum was born in Bethel, and died in Bridgeport in 1891. He was a politician, a businessman, and a showman.

"It cannot be overlooked, Barnum's impact on American entertainment,” said Kathleen Maher, executive director for the Barnum Museum.

It started small, but the iconic circus PT Barnum helped create quickly grew in popularity, and " The Greatest Show on Earth" became a must-see in towns across the country.

"Communities would just shut down to come see the circus that day. It was a family event. It was a community event because the circus was coming to town,” Maher said.

Current owners citing declining ticket sales and increasing operating costs as the reason for shutting down.

Maher said one of Barnum’s greatest successes and keys to longevity was being so in-tune with his audiences.

"He had an instinctive understanding of what excited people and challenged their thinking and what made them curious and he delivered on it,” Maher said.

While the show will not go on, Barnum's legacy with live on through thousands of artifacts and an American institution that will be remembered for generations to come.

"The Barnum Museum in Bridgeport is more important now than ever. We have been the stewards of Barnum’s history for over 120 years, so it’s our obligation and certainly our privilege to really share these stories,” Maher said.

The Ringling Brothers last show is in May.

For one last chance to see it locally, there will be several shows at the XL Center in Hartford this April.

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