Recent Press Releases

Parkway Central High School Student Volunteers

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 April 2014 20:32 Wednesday, 23 April 2014 20:01

Mark Twain Museum Welcomes Student Volunteers                                


 Fifty American Literature students from ParkwayCentral High School spent their Saturday, April 5th in Hannibal’s Historic downtown, not as tourist, but as volunteers for the museum properties.  This is the second year the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum has hosted the students who are all juniors studying Mark Twain and his writings. 

          Sean Rochester, American Literature teacher with Park Central High School said, “We started this project last year because all of us who teach American Literature both love Twain and spend a lot of time throughout the year—not just while we read Huck—talking about the significance of “community” in American history.  We figured, then, that helping out at Hannibal would be a good way for us just to honor our Missouri icon and turn into practice what we sit and talk about inside the classroom.  Plus, to be honest, for a lot of these kids, it’s good for them to spend some time outdoors, which is another concept we hit hard in our studies.”

            The students, accompanied by five teachers spent the day cleaning up around the museum properties and planting flowers at the Tom and Huck Statue and outside the museum’s historic properties.

           Dena Ellis, Finance Manager, and museum Executive Director Henry Sweets were thrilled to have the students back again.  “The students are eager to help and seem genuinely excited for the opportunity to be here”, said Ellis.  “We were approached last year by the school to see if there was anyway they could help the museum and we are glad to have them back with us again.”



Missouri Business Tax Credits Available

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Last Updated on Monday, 07 October 2013 20:08 Monday, 07 October 2013 20:06


           The Mark Twain Home Foundation has been awarded Missouri Business Tax Credits through the Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP). This grant from the Missouri Department of Economic Development supports the fabrication and installation of permanent exhibits for the Becky Thatcher House.

          For gifts of $1,000 or more, the NAP grant will provide 50% of the gift in tax credit that may be used for Missouri business tax liability over a five year period. This is in addition to whatever Federal tax deduction one receives for their gift.

          Many businesses, corporations, far, operations, and individuals with rental property can qualify for the tax credit. It is best to check with one’s financial adviser for eligibility and benefits for such gifts.

          The Becky Thatcher House, located across the mall from the Mark Twain Boyhood Home, was re-opened this summer after extensive renovation, and it features temporary exhibits about Laura Hawkins, the real-life inspiration for Mark Twain’s character. The permanent exhibits for the Becky Thatcher House will explore childhood in Hannibal in the 1840s and 1850s. Children from different levels of society will be followed to see what was expected of them, what learning opportunities they had, and their future aspirations. This final phase of the renovation project will cost around $350,000.

          “We are excited to be ready to work on the permanent exhibits for the Becky Thatcher House,” commented Henry Sweets, executive director. “Children play a prominent role in Mark Twain’s writings, and the exhibits will provide a unique, interactive learning experience for families and students visiting the Museum.”

          For more information, contact Henry Sweets at the Mark Twain Museum: 573-221-9010 extension 405 or



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Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 14:22 Tuesday, 20 August 2013 20:43


Hannibal Twain Home wins fundraising contest

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Tuesday, 13 August 2013 13:42

HANNIBAL, Mo. – The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum narrowly defeated The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Conn., in the first  “Dollar at the Door” challenge in July.

The challenge? Ask for a $1 endowment donation with each museum ticket purchase. The goal? Raise money for each museum and establish a friendly annual competition.

The contest winner had to raise the most endowment dollars per ticket sold.

The Hannibal Home raised $2,190.70 and sold 6,207 tickets, or $0.3529 per ticket sold. The Hartford House raised $2,207.70 and sold 6,473 tickets, and made $0.3411 per ticket sold.

“We’re looking forward to having our fence whitewashed,” Hannibal Home executive director Henry Sweets said. “This contest, win or lose, helped both of our museums raise money for future projects and we thank everyone who contributed.”

As a result, executive director of the Hartford House, Cindy Lovell, will travel to Hannibal and whitewash Tom’s famous fence.

         Lovell will also bring a Twain artifact to loan to the Hannibal Home for one year: the original illustration of Huckleberry Finn for the frontispiece of the first edition of “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Endowment funds ensure the long-term success and preservation of each museum’s historic properties. Both homes are on the National Register of Historic Places and are National Historic Landmarks.

The dollar at the door campaign began at the Hannibal Home in Oct. 2009, launched by former executive director Lovell. Since then, volunteers and staff have raised more than $25,000 for the endowment fund. The Hartford House staff launched their campaign in April 2013 and they have raised almost $6,000.

The houses will renew the endowment fund competition in May, June and July 2014.


Mark Twain Museum sells student-restored Van Swearingen House

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Thursday, 11 July 2013 20:28

HANNIBAL, Mo. — The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum has sold the historic Van Swearingen House. 

         The house sold in early July to Aimee Hosmer, completing a community project aimed at giving Hannibal students real-world trade skills. 

The historic preservation trades class at Hannibal High School, led by Bob Yapp of Preservation Resources, Inc., restored and upgraded the house throughout the course of two years and completed it in July 2012. 

“We’re grateful that the house has sold and thank the museum for allowing the Hannibal High School Preservation Trades program to have a laboratory for two years,” Yapp said. 

The Van Swearingen house was built around 1844 by Thomas Van Swearingen, a local attorney, and was donated to the Mark Twain Home Foundation by Martin Zehr and Susan Ikazaki. 

This project was made possible by partnerships with Preservation Resources Inc., BASF, Hannibal National Bank, Linda Clark, the George H. Riedel Private Foundation, Hannibal Homestore, Sutherlands, Lowes, John Michael Originals and the Mark Twain Association of Realtors. 

The Mark Twain Association of Realtors agreed to lead the sale of the Van Swearingen House. Prestige Realty agent Kristy Trevathan, also a member of the Mark Twain Home Foundation Board, served as the listing and selling agent and is donating her portion of the commission back to the Mark Twain Home Foundation. 

     “It was an honor to be involved, both as a Mark Twain Home Foundation board member and as a realtor, in such a remarkable community project,” Trevathan said. “The involvement of the Preservation class, under the guidance of Bob Yapp, was an incredible project. One of Hannibal’s earliest homes has been preserved and should serve the buyer, Aimee Hosmer, well for many years.”

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