The P.T. Barnum Museum located in Bridgeport is offering a very special behind the scenes tour of the treasures of this museum for a lucky winner and eight friends. The bidding opens on November 1 and concludes on November 15. Winners must take the tour by May 31, 2017.
The aptly named “Tiny Tour” will focus on the extraordinary life of “General Tom Thumb” and his wife, Lavinia Warren. The museum tour will include a behind-the-scenes look at rarely seen personal items in the collection, such as the couple’s jewelry, custom-made clothing, accessories, calling cards, and even a slice of their wedding cake, now more than 150 years old! (But don’t worry, it isn’t moldy or gross – and you’ll find out why during the tour.) Guests will also see hand-colored books and prints, special souvenirs, and rare broadsides promoting Tom Thumb’s tours. To place a bid visit https://www.biddingforgood.com/auction/item/browse.action?auctionId=264831017
The Tiny Tour is your special opportunity to discover some of the most treasured collections at the Barnum Museum. While the gallery features incredible artifacts such as the couple’s miniature carriages and furniture, this tour also introduces you to items not usually seen by the public. In order to preserve these rare and unique items for future generations, many cannot be continuously displayed. You and up to seven additional guests will be welcomed by the Barnum Museum Director and the tour will be led by the Curator. At the conclusion, guests will be treated to “tea” featuring cake similar to the kind made for Charlie and Lavinia’s wedding.
A little biographical information! Charles S. Stratton was a Bridgeport native, born in 1838. He weighed over 9 pounds at birth, but stopped growing around 7 months old. P. T. Barnum met “Charlie” shortly before the boy turned five, and quickly recognized his innate charm and natural ability to entertain. Barnum brought Charlie and his parents to his American Museum in New York City, taught him to act, and gave him the stage name “General Tom Thumb.” Charlie was also known as the “Man in Miniature” because he was only two feet tall but perfectly proportioned.
Tom Thumb became famous and wealthy through his performing and partnership with P.T. Barnum, and the two traveled overseas as well as touring America. Tom Thumb’s acts included singing, dancing, miming and most famously, portraying characters like Cupid and Napoleon Bonaparte. His 1863 marriage to Lavinia Warren, a beautiful and bright “woman in miniature” from Massachusetts, became front-page news at the height of the Civil War, and their wedding attracted thousands of guests. The couple did a three-year tour of the world, becoming America’s first international celebrity couple. Sadly, Charles died of a stroke at age 45, on July 15, 1883. Lavinia remarried in 1885 and lived to be 77.