Jun 27 2011
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 »