Today's Treasure: Clowns of All Kinds

We hope that you're not coulrophobic at the Americna Treasure Tour! We have clowns all around! Some of them are even automatons. Automata are self-operating machines, often utilizing clockwork mechanics to move without continuous human guidance. 1860 through 1910 is considered the "Golden Age of Automata."

Today's Treasure: Stained Glass Windows

Gorgeous stained glass windows decorate the room housing our collection of nickelodeons. Enjoy the colorful artistry of these windows while you listen the playful music of our mechanical music machines! 

Today's Treasure: Circus Sideshow Paintings

Inspired by vintage advertisements for circus side-show acts, Pennsylvania artist Joan Fay painted nearly 100 original canvas paintings in the manner of circus advertisements from the early19th century. 
 Some of the acts from circus of a bygone era were of talented performers who trained themselves to do things like breathe fire (see below) while others were the result of imagination and inventive costuming like the above act for a half man, half alligator....yikes!

Today's Treasure: Classic Cars

The classic car collection at the American Treasure Tour is an exceptional collection of vehicles from the dawn of the automobile industry into the nostalgic styles of 1950's automobiles.

Influential American: P.T. Barnum

Phineas Taylor Barnum is best known for his part in Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. 
An entreprenuer from the start, Barnum owned a newspaper in his Connecticut hometown before moving to New York where he quickly founded "Barnum's Grand Scientific and Musical Theater." He purchased a museum which he used as a platform for performances from his variety act and for other human curiosities and oddities. Eventually, his museum housed America's first aquarium. 

       While ever adding to his list of attractions and oddities, Barnum was also a very productive politician, serving two terms in the Connecticut legislature, and eventually becoming mayor of Bridgeport, CT. 

      Barnum did not enter the travelling circus business until he was in his sixties. He started "P. T. Barnum's Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan & Hippodrome," a traveling circus, menagerie and museum. He later partnered with Bailey, creating Barnum and Bailey's "Greatest Show on Earth." 

    At the American Treasure Tour there is a wonderland of circus memorabilia, artifacts from the circus and vintage advertisements from the show's heyday. 

American Treasure: Walter Lippmann

Walter Lippmann was a New Yorker, a writer, reporter and political commentator in the early to mid 20th century. He pointed out inaccuracies in the news reporting and spoke out against censorship. Lippmann's articles and books often touched on tensions of modern America, between politics, liberty, and news.

Lippmann was the first to use the term "Cold War," and later coined the word "stereotype" as it is used today. His Catchphrase "Manufacture of Consent." has been used over again in literary works by great thinkers of the next generation. He published several books in addition to writing his syndicated newspaper column, "Today and Tomorrow," for which he was twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize (1958 and 1962). 

Influential American: Samuel Goldwyn

Famed for his relentless ambition, bad temper and genius for publicity, Samuel Goldwyn became Hollywood's leading "independent" producer. Goldwyn was an American emigrant from Warsaw who found his way from New York's Garment district to Hollywood California. 
He produced 193 films, and was best known for his films, Guys and Dolls, Wurthering Heights, and The Best Years of Our Lives. Here is the full list of titles. 
Goldwyn died in 1974 at the age of 94.

Young American Treasure: Vinnie Ream

Vinnie Ream was the first woman, and the youngest artist ever to receive a commission from the United States Government. At the age of 18 in 1866, she was awarded the commission of a full size marble statue of President Lincoln which still stands in the Capitol Building.
Vinnie was from a Pennsylvania Dutch family who emigrated from Germany to central Pennsylvania in 1717.
She worked in the United States Post office during the Civil War and later a stamp was created in her honor.
A talented writer and singer as well, Vinnie Ream gave concerts in Civil war hospitals and helped wounded soldiers write letters. 

Today's Treasure: The Simpsons

The Simpsons show holds the title of the longest running American animated program, and the longest running sitcom on television. Even though we are still used to seeing the iconic family on TV, the oldest episodes are nearing the age of vintage, possibly even "classic" TV. 
A Simpsons trivia question: Where does Marge hide the Christmas money? 
*scroll to the end of the post for the answer*
This likeness of the Simpson family larger than life: notice the convertible top of one of our classic cars in the background to get an idea of just how big they are. Come by the American Treasure Tour to visit them in person!

Marge hides Christmas money In Her Hair

American Inventor Elias Howe

Elias Howe worked tirelessly on a design for the modern sewing machine. Although he was not the first to conceive of the idea that sewing could and should be done by machine, he was the first in the US to obtain a patent for a machine performing a lockstitch which uses two threads and one needle...the beginning of sewing machines as we know them today.
These three factors were unique to his design:

  • a needle with the eye at the point,
  • a shuttle operating beneath the cloth to form the lock stitch, and
  • an automatic feed.

So here's to Elias Howe, a real American Treasure from Massachusetts who invented a world-changing device. 

Young American Hero: Mary Jane Dilworth

Mary Jane Dilworth was among a group of pioneers travelling west through the un-searched United States in the early 1800's There were many children in the caravan of wagons headed west, and they proved difficult to wrangle. Mary Jane decided to organize a school like atmosphere for the youngsters. She was so successful at keeping their attention that she was asked by Joseph Smith to open a schoolhouse when the group arrived at their destination. At the age of 16, Mary Jane Dilworth opened the first school in Utah. The year was 1847.

Americna Treasure: Frederick Douglass

Great American Orator Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in Talbot county Maryland circa 1818. After a handful of unsuccessful attempts to escape from slavery, Douglass succeeded on Sept. 3, 1838. He had met and fallen in love with a free African American woman in Baltimore who helped him get identification and a sailor's uniform. He boarded a train for Havre De Grace, MD. as a free sailor, and continued on to a safe house in New York run by David Ruggles

Douglass married the woman who aided his escape, and they participated in the abolitionist movement together. Douglass spoke at meeting halls across the Eastern and Mid-west states. His speeches were powerful, and he was frequently accosted by those who were opposed to his passion for freedom.

The achievements of this man are too many to number, he joined the fight for women's suffrage as well. He wrote autobiographies about his life in slavery and subsequent escape. He became the most famous black man in America before the civil war and conferred with Presidents Lincoln and Johnson on the topic of African American suffrage.

Later in life, Douglass was appointed United States Marshall. At the 1888 Republican National Convention, Douglass became the first African American to receive a vote for President of the United States in a major party's roll call vote

What an amazing American! 

Real American Treasure: Washington Irving

Washington Irving was born in 1783 in New York City. He was an author, biographer, essayist and editor. After his initial works, written under different pseudonyms like Jonathan Oldstyle and Diedrich Knickerbocker, Irving became editor of Analectic Magazine, and became one of the first editors to publish Francis Scott Key's poem "Defense of Fort McHenry," later dubbed, "The Star Spangled Banner."

Irving is best known for his short stories, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,"  and "Rip Van Winkle."
Legendary Characters like these are a great part of the American Story that we love to share at the American Treasure Tour

Today's Treasure; Music Box Roll

Take a look inside some of our antique music boxes. 
make sure to look very close at the little things when you visit the American Treasure Tour

Notice the tiny bronze men sitting in the box to "play the music"
for more information about antique music boxes, see the Music Box Society International 

American Treasure: John Wayne

photo courtesy of

John Wayne's birth name was Marion Michael Morrison. His family moved to southern California when he was just a kid. He was a good student and very athletic, attending college at the University of Southern California. A body surfing accident cut short his promising athletic career, so he turned to some work in the Hollywood studios to pay the bills. 

After his first movie, "The Big Trail," Morrison was known as John Wayne, and continued to act in more than 175 movies. He won an Oscar in 1979 for his performance in "True Grit." 

Bravo, John Wayne.