Located in Hartford, Connecticut, the Mark Twain House was home to Samuel Langhorne Clemens, otherwise known as Mark Twain, and his family, from 1874 to 1891. Today, the house is a museum, as well as a National Historic Landmark, because this is where the famous author wrote some of his most iconic pieces.
The Construction of the House
Mark Twain and his family first moved to Hartford in 1871, and then hired an architect to design their house a couple of years later. Mark Twain’s wife, known as Livy, had quite a bit of input into the design of the house, even drawing sketches to depict how different elements should look like. While the couple did have to deal with several delays and construction issues, the house was finally complete, and the family enjoyed what Mark Twain referred to as the happiest days of their life in this house.
The Mark Twain House and Museum is home to over 16,000 objects that relate to Mark Twain and his life. The main collection consists of pieces that originally belonged to the family, or to the family of Mark Twain’s wife, and includes everything from the couple’s famous angel bed to the last pair of glasses that Mark Twain wore to clothes that belonged to the couple. There is also a separate Archival Collection, which includes a number of photogaphs and documents that were either created, received or collected by Mark Twain, his family and his friends. Some of the highlights of this collection include a love letter that Mark Twain wrote to his wife, and photographs of his daughters. The museum is also home to a few Special Collections that mostly feature library materials that have significant value, such as special editions of Mark Twain’s work.
The Mark Twain House and Museum is constantly striving to improve upon their collection, and they have recently introduced two new exhibits to the museum. The first is called Twain’s Temper: Top Ten Tantrums and Righteous Rages, with the books, letters, illustrations and political cartoons exploring the many different factors that used to make Mark Twain particularly angry. The second new exhibit is titled Renewing the Royal Chamber, and features the couple’s Mahogany Suite, which has recently been immaculately restored. The restoration effort was a huge one, with an incredible amount of attention paid to just about every detail within the bedroom, ensuring that it is as historically accurate as possible.
The Mark Twain House and Museum offers a number of different guided tours for visitors, with one of the most popular being the standard House Tour, which will provide you with a fascinating insight into Mark Twain and his family. For those who enjoy theatrics, the Living History Tour is a must-do, as these are led by historical characters in period dress, and include plenty of fun photo opportunities. The Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours are also interesting, as these explore the ghostly tales that surround the Mark Twain House.
The Mark Twain House and Museum is open daily during the fall months, making it easy to plan a visit. For those who are fans of Mark Twain, who is famous for being one of the world’s greatest writers, a visit to the museum is an absolute must, as you will learn so much more about this enigmatic man.