Friday, October 05, 2012

Mark Twain's House in Hartford but Mr Clemens is Out

This is the final post in a series on Connecticut museums by Laura Sanderson Healy, a great No Crowds traveller.

   “I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer Abroad 

 Ain’t that the truth! I must confess a total devotion to Samuel Clemens here, and in the way that I had to see the IMAX film about Mark Twain’s life, so I had to take myself and family to visit the shrine that is his home and museum in Hartford, way off the beaten track in the most unsalubrious neighborhood I have ever seen (it, and the Harriet Beecher Stowe house next door, sit high on a hill smack in the middle of a bombed out ghetto). If you can make it through the neighborhood, you can park in the lot for the museum, and the adventure is worth it.

  The Mark Twain House and Museum is such a wonderful destination for his fans; there are some 16,000 artifacts assembled. The house, a National Historic Landmark, does not have its original furnishings as it served as a school after the Clemenses but it is well appointed with the period detail. It’s a hulking edifice of Victorian splendor, and the interpretive center adjacent to it is full of interesting items, including a giant LEGO of Mark Twain himself. I would love to know what the great man would have had to say about that, and I’m sure he would love the ghost tours they do. Happenings are always going on at the museum and house, and it’s quite a busy presence on social media. I’m sure he would have liked that.

The family has a great takeaway from the trip to the Twain house: My daughter, who has read Tom Sawyer, was fascinated by a trick Mr. Clemens played on stray callers. If the polite author was working and did not want to be disturbed – he could write thousands of words a day – he simply stepped out onto an upstairs porch and his servant would tell the visitor that “Mr. Clemens is out.”

The Mark Twain House & Museum
351 Farmington Avenue
Hartford, CT 06105
Phone: 860 247-0998


  1. Lived within an hour of Hartford for many years of my life, starting in high school, and never knew this existed! Thanks!

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