Archive for the Tag 'Barnum’s American Museum'

Jun 27 2011

Posted by under June 13 Assignment

Barnum’s American Museum

I am unsure if Barnum’s American Museum would be a fair indication of the definition of entertainment in the 19th century, but what I am sure of is the fact that is was very popular. Personally, I was not sure what to expect. I had already heard about some of the “attractions” at the museum – such as the 25 inch midget and the mermaid from Fiji – and was very curious to get to the site. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed at what I discovered on the website – it did give me a lot of information about the attractions at the museum but lacked a certain “wow” factor, which I am certain was what made the museum very popular. But from an educational point of view, the online museum hits all the right marks. The archive is very informational and entertaining. The image I posted is a perfect representation of Barnum’s Museum to me. Even though it is in the 19th century, I think it was perceived as a colorful place to visit, with weird and larger than life attractions. The total tickets sold will also support the tag of the Peoples Favorite,  even though it is very clear that the museum had its fair share of critics.

With the introduction of the NY Herald in 1835, the culture in NYC was already changing. People were now being intrigued and entertained by reading about murders, suicides and rapes. I am uncertain if Barnum seen this culture change as the perfect opportunity of open the museum in NYC or he would have done it either way, but NYC was now rapidly expanding and accepting to new means of entertainment. I think from an historic point of view the website does a good job giving the viewer all the information it had in a fun method, but visually and interactively it could use a lot of improvement. Continue Reading »

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Jun 13 2011

Posted by under June 13 Assignment

The lost Museum

Barnum’s American Museum was located at the corner of Broadway and Ann Street in New York, from 1841 to 1865. The museum was mysteriously burnt at that time and the Lost museum was recreated to have people in modern time to visit and experience culture in the 19th century through website.  The museum offered both strange, and educational attractions.

Barnum opened his museum  to create a place where families could go for wholesome, affordable entertainment, but his success drew from the fact that he knew how to entice an audience. At its peak, the museum was open fifteen hours a day and had as many as 15,000 visitors a day. The museum was a spectacular place for people coming to enjoy it in 19th century.  People came to this place with their families and socialize with other people.  The cultural history of New York was people gathered in one place and watch other people’s show and share their opinions with each other while they were exploring the museum.

In my opinion, the strength about the website as a historical tool like Lost museum is that it helps people to experience and have more understanding about the historical facts that were really exist and greatly affected people but been destroyed. The weakness was it was mimicking the historical event, the accuracy would be affected.

 

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Jun 13 2011

Posted by under June 13 Assignment

The Lost Museum

The Barnum’s American Museum was the popular attraction in 19th century New York City. P.T.Barnum purchased this museum from John Scudder in 1841. By 1850 he had greatly influence on the mid-19th century popular culture. The museum was burned down at the end of the Civil War. In this lost museum, you can find exotic animals from around the world, a number of “human curiosities” and many different wonders. Barnum used different kinds of innovative ways to dazzle the audiences. The museum displayed automata that imitated human and animal behavior and lantern slide shows, cosmoramas, and panoramas that presented images in new ways. The museum foreshadowed the commercial culture and pop culture in the United States. The museum is not only a place for entertainment, it also promoted the education on natural science in its animal exhibition, included historical context in its paintings and wax figures, and temperance reform and Shakespear dramas in its “Lecture Room”. Through adding educational value into its exhibitions, Barnum avoided to offend the religiously inclined. The Barnum’s American Museum was a single place where the people from different classes, immigrant, tourists, and residents, men and women could gather. It reflected the diversity of the American population at that time. However, in order to reinforce the white identities of museum patrons, african americans were only allowed in the museum on a limited basis. It was a key site for the antebellum articulation of whiteness. In addition, many of the exhibits in the museum reflected the emerging political and social crises that led to secession and Civil War.

The website has re-constructed the Barnum’s American Museum. We could explore the museum in a 3-D interactive environment. In my opinion, this website is pretty good as a historical tool but it would be better if it could allow us to check the museum in full-screen. Also, the website should add a side bar so that it could provide us more historical context and background information when we are navigating the museum. It would be more convenient too if the website has an audio guide.

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Jun 12 2011

Posted by under June 13 Assignment

Come and Join Us Brothers, 1863



Exploring The Lost Museum was a very interesting experience. It took me quite a while to be able to learn how to navigate through this virtual museum. On one hand, this website is interactive and keeps you involved in exploring the website the way you want to. You can start exploring from the ground floor or from the 3rd floor and it’s up to you to pick what you want to read about. On the other hand, it takes too long to figure it out how to use this virtual museum as a historical tool and I wish they would simplify and incorporate table of contest on each floor. Overall, it helped me to understand the events and entertainment that was popular at that time in NYC and how P. T. Barnum’s American Museum was a highlight for many visitors in mid-nineteenth-century in New York City.

Come and Join Us Brothers, 1863

I found this picture in Waxworks Room on the second floor. This picture represents one of the things that I have learned through the website. It helped me to learn that although President Lincoln invited African American men to serve in Union Army, they were still at disadvantage and were underpaid and treated as inferiors.  

At the end, The Barnum museum taught me about entertainment in 19th century in NYC. This was a time when Tom Thumb and the original Siamese Twins were highly popular for entertainment. According to the website, ”Much of what made the enterprise so remarkable was carried on by Barnum’s circus. Among the items on display were the farcical, unconvincingly cobbled together “FeJee Mermaid” and very real, majestic whales.  Lectures on religion and abolition took place in the museum’s theater.” This shows us that New Yorkers were entertained in various ways even in the days without TV or Digital World that our generation is consumed by entirely and sees it as almost the only way to be entertained or taught.

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Jun 11 2011

Posted by under ADMIN ONLY - featured,June 13 Assignment

Losing Myself in The Lost Museum

Fire lecture film ironic since museum was burnt down

When I first visited “The Lost Museum” I got bored and I was not interested. Truthfully, the ground floor did not really capture my attention. So, I decided to move up to the second floor and check out if there was something more entertaining. I was impressed based on what I saw on the second and third floor. I was also surprised to see that this museum was different. It actually had a wide variety of exhibits ranging from those that dealt with history, science, and entertainment. The lecture film about fire caught my attention. I thought it was a little funny and ironic that this museum included a lecture film about fire as both Iranistan (Barnum’s mansion) and Barnum’s American Museum burned down. It was also interesting to see the amounts of fires that destroyed New York City and how fires were such a big problem for the city of New York.

“The Lost Museum” showed me something very important about entertainment in 19th century NYC; that it is not much different than entertainment today. The “freak show” aspect of the museum reminded me of the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum in Manhattan. The wax figures in the waxworks room on the second floor were similar to Madame Tussauds wax museum also in Manhattan. Many people in New York City visit both of these museums for entertainment purposes probably the same way others visited The Barnum Museum in New York City in the 19th century.

I thought the interactive aspect of this website was a very effective tool to choose to include. It makes the visitors feel like they are in a actual museum. It is as if they are able to walk through it, move up levels and it keeps your attention and interest. The strength of this website is its ability to depict a form of entertainment in the 19th century and show how similar it is to forms of entertainment today. It also informs the visitors of the website about several different historical facts such as the assault on Charles Sumner by Preston S. Brooks (which actually happened). In my opinion, I feel they should have attempted to make the ground floor more interesting or for it to contain more interesting facts as it would impress the viewers and keep  them in the website to continue o to the other floors so they could learn more.

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