'The Greatest Showman' puts spotlight on Bridgeport museum

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BRIDGEPORT -

The film "The Greatest Showman" is helping to put a Hollywood spotlight on the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport.

The movie stars Hugh Jackman as legendary entertainer and Bridgeport resident P. T. Barnum, who designed the museum that opened in 1893. It contains more than 60,000 artifacts related to Barnum's life, Bridgeport and 19th century America.

The historic landmark sustained major damage from a tornado in 2010, and later by Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. It is now looking to raise $55 million in its ongoing process to restore and revitalize the museum.

Executive director Kathleen Maher says the movie's timing is great because it's taking the spotlight on P.T. Barnum and redirecting it to the museum.

"It's giving us a moment to illuminate the story to a greater number of people throughout the state," she says. "It's going to help the Barnum Museum bring itself back up to the world-class museum that P.T. Barnum intended it in the 1890s."

Maher says the capital campaign has raised $6 million so far. She says they're currently working on design and planning for the rebuild, but she hopes to see the vision completed in the next few years.

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