Discussion Barnum's Christmas Show - or Where Union Soldiers Would Go On Leave in NYC to see 200 Educated Rats

NH Civil War Gal

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I suspect that the uneducated rats were sent to visit the snake exhibits.

If memory served, it was a "great white whale from Labrador," meaning that it was likely a beluga, which are pretty small as whales go.

When I was a kid, I saw the original Jumbo the elephant, skinned and stuffed and in the middle of a museum of circus memorabilia at Tufts University in Medford. Massachusetts, shortly before the museum burned down, taking the stuffed elephant with it (his skeleton and heart are in other museums). I remember thinking he didn't look all that big to me (shrinkage!) and at 5 feet tall, the top of my head came up to about his "elbow" where his front leg met his body. His trunk was full of coins, because apparently the students used it as a sort of wishing well before exams, and his tail was held on with tape, because apparently someone had tried to use it as a rope swing at some point. It was kind of sad, actually. The Tufts sports teams are still called "The Jumbos."

There is a Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, Connecticut, but I've never been. I also liked the 1980s Broadway musical Barnum with Michael Crawford, which is in its entirety on Youtube somewhere.
 
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If anyone's interested, here are the two songs that deal with the American Museum from the '80s play "Barnum!" starring Michael Crawford. Ignore the Japanese subtitles, and the song that I really wanted to post starts at about 4:40, but the "One Brick at a Time" number, sung by Barnum's wife, Charity, is pretty good, too. After Hamilton, this is the play that I'd most like to see live before I die. Most of the background actors were circus performers, and it shows! Enjoy!

 

Lubliner

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If anyone's interested, here are the two songs that deal with the American Museum from the '80s play "Barnum!" starring Michael Crawford. Ignore the Japanese subtitles, and the song that I really wanted to post starts at about 4:40, but the "One Brick at a Time" number, sung by Barnum's wife, Charity, is pretty good, too. After Hamilton, this is the play that I'd most like to see live before I die. Most of the background actors were circus performers, and it shows! Enjoy!

That made me think how many kids back then dreamed of running away and joining the show!
Lubliner.
 

Grant's Tomb

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Had no idea he did a Christmas show at his museum that year. To avenge Sherman's capture of Atlanta, on November 25th, a few Confederate officers came into the city and set fire to the museum but thankfully volunteer fire fighters put it out before it did any real damage. All but one of the Confederates got away. There's a book about it called A Vast and Fiendish plot by Clint Johnson. And it was also the avenge the death of General John Hunt Morgan and the burning of the Shenandoah Valley
 

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