The Bridgeport History Center has just been awarded a $26,703 grant to restore its collection of 47 “Barnum and London” circus posters in need of conservation treatment.
The funds, coming from Save America’s Treasures, will be used to clean, repair, and strengthen the posters and then digitally photograph them, expanding access to the collection.
This comes at a special time: 200 years after the birth of P.T. Barnum, who was also Bridgeport’s most famous mayor.
The head of the History Center, Mary Witkowski, and librarian Elizabeth Van Tuyl, deserve a victory lap for securing these funds.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services has awarded nine Save America’s Treasures Grants in all, all aimed at endangered museum collections.
“They include rare notebooks that document the construction of the Panama Canal, the only known Alutiiq warrior kayak, tree ring collections that tell the story of prehistoric times, archeological collections that reveal the story of survival of enslaved plantation workers, civil war flags that date to reconstruction, quilts that document 300 years of societal change, and historical circus posters,” said Susan Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “The Institute of Museum and Library Services is very proud of the work that the Save America’s Treasures recipients are doing to tell America’s story for future generations.”
Last year was our 75th year of the Bridgeport History Center’s existence.