Material Detail

The Lost Museum

The Lost Museum

The Lost Museum is an interactive re-creation of P. T. Barnum’s American Museum, circa 1865. Barnum’s Museum, mid-nineteenth century America’s pre-eminent popular cultural institution, offered its visitors a cornucopia of attractions that merged entertainment and education and, often in odd but compelling ways, highlighted some of the major compromises, accommodations, and conflicts of the antebellum and Civil War periods. The Lost Museum combines 3-D spatial exploration of four re-created museum rooms containing 130 interactive artifacts and attractions, a searchable archive of more than 300 primary documents, and 14 teaching resources geared to diverse classroom settings. Working independently and together, these features allow contemporary virtual visitors to experience the fascinating intricacy of nineteenth-century exhibitions, to embark on a search for clues to solve the mystery of who (among social and political groups in the period) may have burned down the building in July 1865, or to choose lesson plans and strategies suitable for high school and college teaching about U.S. history.


More about this material


Log in to participate in the discussions or sign up if you are not already a MERLOT member.