Showman and businessman PT Barnum was frustrated with how long people lingered in his museum’s exhibits. He posted signs that said ‘This Way to the Egress’. He knew most of the visitors would follow them not knowing ‘Egress’ meant ‘Exit’. They couldn’t re-enter without paying the entry fee again

Barnum’s American Museum

For other articles with similar names, see Barnum Museum (disambiguation).

Barnum’s American Museum in 1858

After the 1868 fire

Barnum’s American Museum was located at the corner of Broadway and Ann Street in New York City, United States, from 1841 to 1865. The museum was owned by famous showman P. T. Barnum, who purchased Scudder’s American Museum in 1841. The museum offered both strange and educational attractions.[1]


In 1841 Barnum bought Scudder’s American Museum across from St. Paul’s at the corner of Broadway and Ann Street. He converted the five-story exterior into an advertisement lit with limelight. The museum opened on January 1, 1842.[2] Its attractions made it a combination zoo, museum, lecture …
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