The Museum of Mark Twain: Unforgettable Experience

Michael Trout - Aug 29, 2011
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The Mark Twain House & Museum, a National Historic Landmark in Hartford, Connecticut, was the home of America’s greatest author, Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain) and his family from 1874 to 1891. It is also where Twain lived when he wrote his most important works, including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Prince and The Pauper and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.

A stunning example of Picturesque Gothic architecture, the 25-room home features a dramatic grand hall with rare examples of Victorian decorative arts by Louis Comfort Tiffany’s design firm Associated Artists, a lush glass conservatory, a grand library and the handsome billiard room where Twain wrote his famous books.

Today, visitors enjoy daily tours of this striking home. There are also rotating exhibits on Twain’s life and legacy in the nation’s first LEED-certified museum and visitor center, opened in 2003. Throughout the year, The Mark Twain House & Museum presents special events and educational programs that illuminate Twain’s literary legacy for fans of all ages.

The Mark Twain Museum Center offers guests an opportunity to learn more about Mark Twain, his family, the historic house, and the author's legacy. This state-of-the-art facility houses the Aetna Gallery with a permanent exhibition on Twain's life and work; The Hartford Financial Services Theatre, showing a Ken Burns mini-documentary on Twain; the lecture hall-style Lincoln Financial Auditorium; The Mark Twain Store; entertaining spaces like the soaring Great Hall and the sunny second floor café/patio area.

Preserving a Great Author’s Legacy

The mission of The Mark Twain House & Museum is to foster an appreciation of the legacy of Mark Twain as one of the American defining cultural figures, and to demonstrate the continuing relevance of his work, life and times.

The Mark Twain House & Museum has restored the author’s Hartford, Connecticut, home, where the author and his family lived from 1874 to 1891. Twain wrote his most important works during the years he lived there, including ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’, ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’, and ‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court’.

In addition to providing tours of Twain’s restored home, a National Historic Landmark, the institution offers activities and educational programs that illuminate Twain’s literary legacy and provide information about his life and times.

From Sam’s Shirts to the Stormfield Plans

The Mark Twain House & Museum’s collection contains approximately 16,000 artifacts. Obviously, the most important object is the historic home of author Samuel L. Clemens (”Mark Twain”), which has been meticulously restored and designated a National Historic Landmark.

The Museum collection objects includes pieces that originally belonged to the Clemens family or that belonged to the Langdons, the family of Sam’s wife, Olivia Clemens. It also encompasses other period pieces of decorative and fine arts and domestic artifacts; popular culture artifacts that display interpretations of Mark Twain’s image, work and characters; architectural pieces created for the restoration of the house; and material relating to the work and style of the original architects and decorators of the Twain House.

Examples of notable pieces in the collection include: the Clemenses’ famous angel bed, Samuel Clemens’ last pair of spectacles, a watercolor painting, named Emmeline, a birthday present from Sam to Olivia in 1878; family textiles, including two of Sam’s shirts, one of Livy’s nightgowns and a quilt sewn by Twain’s mother-in-law, Olivia Langdon; the architectural plans for “Stormfield,” Twain’s last home in Redding, Conn. and much more.

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