Miniature displays of the circus on display at the Barnum Museum

Circus miniature displays will be at a the Barnum Museum  Wednesday, May 21, at 12:15 p.m.

A sneak peek continues with Back with Brinley: Circus in Miniature is presented by Melissa Houston.

For this month's informal lunchtime talk, Houston will be showing pieces from and discussing the museum’s beloved miniature circus made by William Brinley.

This display has been tucked away since the tornado in 2010, but many visitors to the museum remember and ask about the circus model.

To satisfy the popular interest, Houston will bring out selected elements of the handmade circus and show photographs of the original set up as it has appeared at different times over the years.

About the models

William Brinley began making his circus model as a child growing up in the 1930s, using a variety of “found” materials.  For example, he transformed the common wooden cheese boxes that were used at the time into circus wagons and remnants of plain cotton cloth were stitched together to become tents.

He learned to carve animal figures from blocks of scrap wood; examples of elephants in various stages of carving will be shown. No registration required.

Suggested donations: $3; museum members and kids under 12 are free. For more information visit or call 203-331-1104.

The museum is located at 820 Main St. in downtown Bridgeport.