Free Writing

I reviewed  “The Lost Museum”, Barnum’s American Museum which tells the story of a massive fire that destroyed  this museum in New York City in July of 1865.  I found this site very interesting because I had heard about the Barnum & Bailey Circus.  I like that the website opens to a video which gives you background about his museum and the fire that destroyed it. The tone of the narrative gives life and emphasis on the museum’s history, and the tragic event.   The use of music adds to the effects and anticipation of the pandemonium that ensues as the fire rages out of control.


The content of information provided was taken from a historic point of view, to help you understand the social and cultural aspects of the people during that time period.  The narrator appears to be recounting the story of  the events that happened during the time period of the fire, through a variety of graphic depictions.  The use pictures help the reader understand and visualize the devastation caused by the fire.

The website is well organized, and provides tabs for easy access to layers of additional information about the museum exhibits, its collaborators, sponsors and who to contact for more information. The information flows well making it easy to learn about the time period and this specific event.  The website is easy to find through a google search, and can be accessed from computer technology, or mobile devices. The use of  a voice narration and captions to also make the information more accessible.

  The audience appears to be students, as it has a classroom tab that provides reference information about the time period, the event, and location.  This information addresses the needs of the audience by providing a lens of the characters, what was happening  in their society during that time period, some background information about the museum, and essays on the social environment at that time.  

The website makes great use of a 3-dimensional animation for the exhibit of the museum, which provides a visual account of the actual items in the museum at the time, along with an interactive activity.  I find this feature very appealing and clever. 

The eclectic group of creators all participated in varying levels of collaborative effort.  These included universities: American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning, The Graduate Center, City University of New York in collaboration with Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media George Mason University, animators, programmers, writers, researchers, advisors, archivist, music coordinators, sound effect and voice over technicians.

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