Recent Press Releases

Parkway Central High School Student Volunteers

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Last Updated on Monday, 13 April 2015 20:44 Monday, 23 December 2013 16:18

Parkway Central High School Students Volunteer for Third Year   

For the third year in a row, students in their junior jear at Parkway Central High School in Chesterfield, Missouri have come to Hannibal with the sole purpose of volunteering at the Mark Twain Museum.  English teacher, Sean Rochester, organizes the trip to Hannibal for his students after completing a segment on The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn.

Buses pulled into the Mark Twain Museum & Boyhood Home's Interpretive Center parking lost early Saturday, April 11th with forty students and four teachers who immediately set to work pulling weeds, mulching flower beds and planting bulbs.  Following their work around the museum grounds, the students then were invited to visit the museum properties and see where the stories for Huckleberry Finn started and Sam's boyhood home.

The Museum invites you to stop by the Tom & Huck Statue and the Interpretive Center to see what forty kids can do in just a few hours.

The Mark Twain Museum would like to thank Lori Fantz, volunteer Master Gardener, Mark Twain Museum's Building & Grounds Keeper Chuck Rickey and Museum Building & Grounds Keeper Mike Ryan, who assisted with the project.


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


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.”

Historic Becky Thatcher House reopens June 29

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Last Updated on Thursday, 06 June 2013 21:30 Thursday, 06 June 2013 21:28

Becky Thatcher House in Hannibal, Missouri, part of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum properties

The Becky Thatcher House, under restoration since 2008, will reopen June 29.

The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum will host a noon ribbon cutting and other events at the house, under restoration since 2008.

The ribbon cutting ceremony will include raffles and giveaways, followed by an opportunity to tour the building and enjoy activities in the restored home all day long.

Inside the Becky, Gladys Coggswell will perform and tell stories in the house at 1 and 1:30 p.m. Museum executive director Henry Sweets will give a guided tour and talk about the real Becky, Laura Hawkins, who lived in the historic home, and Mark Twain impersonator Jim Waddell will perform Twain’s Civil War recollections at 4 p.m.

The house will contain temporary exhibits and items from the museum’s extensive collection until funds can be raised for the fabrication and installation of the permanent exhibits.

The temporary exhibits include the story of the real-life Becky, a retrospective of the Tom and Becky Program, a photographic exhibit of the museum’s 100th anniversary and more.

“We’re thrilled to add even more exhibits and another building to the museum experience for our visitors,” marketing manager Brenna McDermott said. “And we hope that our local supporters will bring their families down and see what’s new at the Becky Thatcher House, too.”

The permanent exhibits will be installed when funds are raised. They will contrast childhood in Hannibal during the 1840s and 1850s with modern times. Visitors will learn about how class, race and gender affected children’s lives, seen through the experiences of the fictional characters Tom, Becky, Huck and Jim.

Visitors will learn what was expected of each child as they prepared for adulthood, attended school and went about their daily lives.

The Becky Thatcher House will be included in the museum tour. Visitors purchase one ticket and can also see the Museum Gallery, Interpretive Center, Huckleberry Finn Home, Mark Twain Boyhood Home and the J.M. Clemens Justice of the Peace office.


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