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Topic: To Those that Care about the Future of the Barnum Museum
Message: Posted by: Utah_Showman (Oct 6, 2010 05:02PM)
To Those that Care about the Future of the Barnum Museum


WWBD - What Would Barnum Do????????
Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (Oct 6, 2010 05:17PM)
Boy, this made my head explode... and not in the way this Rizzo guy intended. I was there last night doing a talk. The museum has more than 6 million dollars worth of damage done to it. A one night performance of sideshow acts will not even begin to help. Kathy knows that she has my support in anything she wants to do there and would be more than willing to do a show for the museum.

I'm sure Mr. Rizzo is well intentioned, but he shouldn't get bent out of shape because the folks at the museum need to do something bigger to solve their problems than to produce a single night of entertainment.

And I don't know who he spoke to at the museum, but they have never played down Barnum's history of presenting freaks. You should have seen the billboard they had up off of I-95 years ago.
Message: Posted by: Utah_Showman (Oct 6, 2010 05:35PM)
Todd, I would be more than happy to add your comments to the conversation if that's OK with you?

Need to tell both sides of the story.
Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (Oct 6, 2010 07:53PM)
Here's what I would like you to post:

Though I can not offically speak for the folks that run the Barnum Museum, I do have a good working relationship with them. I have done a number of programs for them and was up there last night (Oct. 5, 2010) to do a talk on Barnum's legacy. Since I have glimpsed what is going on there, I might be able to shine a bit of light on the situation.

I find Mr. Rizzo's intentions admirable, but his ire is completely uncalled for. The Barnum Museum (like most public institutions) receive calls on a regular basis from good people eager to tell the administration what the administration should be doing.

A single evening of sideshow acts would be a lovely thing, but it would make at the most $5,000 for the museum. At the most. And that is assuming that EVERYONE would donate their time for the effort. That includeds not only the talent, but also the crew, staff and venue. And the advertizing, print and all other cost would have to be donated too. And that also assumes that the event was well attended. Those are big assumations to make. And it would be a VERY large untertaking that would require a good number of people and great deal of time to do right.

Instead the staff of the museum (all three of them) are reaching out to individuals, government agencies and organizations that can with a single stroke of a pen provide the Barnum Museum far more than a couple of thousand dollars and truly make a difference in raising the more than 6 million dollars needed to repair the museum.

If Mr. Rizzo wishes to produce on his own a sideshow night at a venue somewhere and donate all the proceeds the Barnum Museum, then I will be the first to offer my services in any capacity needed.

But please, don't tell the museum what they should do.

And I don't know who Mr. Rizzo spoke to at the museum, but they have never played down Barnum's history of presenting freaks. They had a prominent billboard promoting the museum that featured the famous Matthew Brady photo of a group Barnum's freaks with the slogan, "And you think your family is strange?"
Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (Oct 6, 2010 07:57PM)
There is only one sideshow showman who would claim he could make six million dollars in a single evening.

No need to add this last comment to SSW.
Message: Posted by: Utah_Showman (Oct 6, 2010 08:23PM)
There's only one showman............LOL

Thanks Todd,

Here's the page where your article can be found.


It's title I Care about the Future of the Barnum Museum.

Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (Oct 6, 2010 08:32PM)
Thanks John.
Message: Posted by: Utah_Showman (Oct 6, 2010 08:36PM)
Thank You!
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Oct 6, 2010 09:41PM)
It would be very interesting to see what a Barnum would do, in this time and place.

There was one publicist, a few years ago, who might have been able to pull off a deal like what the Barnum Museum needs. He benefited a few sideshow folks, for about a season and a half. Now, nobody knows who he is.

There have been a couple of showmen who'd claim to be able to fix this, but they are not known for either veracity or their ability to stick to something in a positive way.

If we look at history, though, we can get a pretty good idea of what Barnum would have done. After his second museum burned, he retired. When he went into circus, his job was more to be a name draw, than to actually do much. The next question is: well, did he pull it off? Yes, he did. In spades. He was a great draw, and they raked in the money.

The next question is: could he do it today, and how? Quite possibly. I think he'd be running the Six Flags enterprises, only he'd be doing it a lot better than the SF management do. The man knew that it took more than franchising agreements with vendors. He also knew that PR has to reach people on their home turf, make them NEED to be a part of the exhibition. That was what Barnum did best.

But then, in his time, he WAS the mass entertainment. He'd have a lot more competition today.