Barnum Museum historic missing eagle statue has been recovered

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Barnum Museum's eagle statue has returned home after the historic piece fell from its perch over the weekend and disappeared.

The statue is safe and had been locked up with Bridgeport police since Saturday when a good Samaritan noticed it on the ground.

The museum was closed on the weekend and museum officials had no idea of its whereabouts when they arrived at work Monday morning. That led to a search for the statue that has sat atop the museum since 1893.

Museum officials believe record wind-gusts last Thursday caused the statue to tilt from its mount.

A plan was in place to remove the eagle Monday morning with help from the Bridgeport Fire Department.

“So I made the call that it needed to come down just to keep the public safe,” said structural engineer Amy Jagaczewski.

“I got here at about 8 o'clock in the morning and the eagle was gone,” said Barnum Museum Executive Director Kathleen Maher.

“And there's all kinds of staining on the sidewalk, so we determined that it must have blown off at some point this weekend,” Jagaczewski said.

The eagle was set to be regilded over the summer as part of a major restoration project that's been in the making for 20 years. Storms over the past decade had added additional damage.

“This building's been hit by a tornado and two hurricanes and the eagle survived that, and to have it blow off over the weekend, the day before we’re ready to go up and save it, it's like Murphy's Law,” Jagaczewski said.

Museum officials put the word out on social media. They spent the day trying to look at nearby surveillance cameras and reached out to local scrap metal shops. Then they received the call they'd been waiting for on Monday afternoon, that the eagle had been locked up with police the whole time.

“Then they returned it to us a little while ago, and we are so happy and so grateful. Bridgeport’s Finest coming through again,” Maher said.

The museum said the eagle sustained some damage that can be repaired.

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