This 1860 advertisement from the New York Times shows that P. T. Barnum was not above using the country’s political turmoil to promote the American Museum. Grabbing the reader’s attention with the words "THE CRISIS AND SECESSION," the advertisement then offers the carefree, good-natured fun of the museum as an antidote to the trouble of sectional conflict.
THE CRISIS AND SECESSION – Nobody would think there was trouble in the “American Camp,” if they would look in at Barnum’s Museum, either afternoon or evening, and see the smiling, happy faces, and hear the merry laughter of old and young, over the great showman’s novelties and amusements. The great performances this afternoon and evening, with the rare novelties at all hours, will be sure to attract great crowds. See his advertisement.
Source: New York Times, December 15, 1860, p. 8.