People

“Supposing is good, but finding out is better.”
Mark Twain in Eruption; Mark Twain’s Autobiography

Staff

Biographies

Henry Sweets, Executive Director

Henry Sweets received a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Illinois in 1971 and a Master’s in Education in 1973. He then taught high school science for two years in Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School in New Jersey, and two years at Byron High School in Illinois. He next earned a Master of Arts degree in American History and Museum Studies from the University of Delaware in 1978. Sweets came to the Mark Twain Museum in January, 1978. He has edited the Museum publication The Fence Painter since 1982, led workshops and made many presentations on behalf of the Museum. Sweets has also served on the local Board of Education from 1992 to 2010.  Henry is available to speak to your group about various topics related to Mark Twain. Favorite Twain Quote: “Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”

Dena Ellis, Finance, Gift Shop, and Maintenance Manager

Dena Ellis came to the Mark Twain Museum in 2004 after spending nearly 20 years in the corporate world at Unicco, the maintenance providers at the BASF plant outside of Hannibal. She graduated from the San Diego College of Respiratory Therapy and attended college at the University of Missouri-Columbia and Hannibal-LaGrange College. As a lifelong resident of Hannibal, Dena brings her love for Mark Twain, the Mississippi River, and Hannibal itself to her position as the manager of finances, maintenance, and the three gift shops at the Mark Twain Museum. Dena’s desire is to have the museum set the standard for visitor enjoyment and to garner local pride of ownership in the museum properties. Favorite Twain quote: “Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”

Melissa Cummins, Marketing and Community Relations Manager, Tom and Becky Coordinator, Admissions and Volunteer Coordinator

Melissa Cummins received her B.A. in communications with an emphasis in radio, television and film from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. Melissa began her love of Mark Twain while traveling with her two daughters who were both Becky Thatcher Goodwill Ambassadors for the city of Hannibal.  Her Mark Twain travels have taken her from coast to coast, visiting the log cabin Twain stayed in while writing his short story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County to touring Twain’s home in Hartford, Connecticut and as far as the islands of Bermuda in which Twain was quoted to say “You can go to heaven if you want. I’d rather stay in Bermuda”.  Melissa manages the publicity for the museum as well as advertising, social media, community relations, oversees the volunteer program, admissions and Music Under the Stars summer concert series. She also helps plan fundraisers, events for the museum and oversees the Tom and Becky Goodwill Ambassador Program .  Favorite Twain quote: “Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”

Jamie Schappaugh, Administrative Assistant

 

Museum staff members are available to speak at various functions. Please contact the museum to schedule a speaker.

Advisory Board

Anita Estell, Principal, Polsinelli Shalton Flanigan Suelthaus Law Firm
Hal Holbrook, Actor
Ron Powers, Journalist & Author
Larry Thompson, SVP of Government Affairs, General Counsel & Secretary, Pepsico Inc.

Governance

There are two boards that have jurisdiction over the Mark Twain Museum Properties.

The Mark Twain Home Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation which has leased the City of Hannibal owned properties and has properties of its own. The Foundation is responsible for overseeing the operation, maintenance and development of the entire Mark Twain Museum.

For a history of the museum properties, click here.

Mark Twain Home Foundation Board of Directors:

Dian Volkmer, President
Mike McKay, Vice President
Jill Janes, Treasurer
Ronald B. Verdier, Secretary
Robert Boone
Phillip B. Foreman
Anne Hizar
Harry Hosmer
Mike McKay
Wells Pettibone
Dana Ruhl
Rachel Bringer Shepherd
Mark Wasinger
Martin Zehr

The city-owned Mark Twain properties (The Boyhood Home, Judge Clemens Justice of the Peace Office, Grant’s Drug Store/Pilaster House, and Tom and Huck Statue) are monitored by the Mark Twain Home Board. Today the Home Board is appointed by the city to administer the terms of the city lease with the Mark Twain Home Foundation which sees the overall daily operation of the museum properties.

Mark Twain Home Board Members:

Frank Salter, Chairman
Mary Callicott
Pam Ginsberg
Harry Hosmer
Jill Janes
Kristy Trevathan
Dian Volkmer