The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum
Located in the small river town of Hannibal, the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum is actually a cluster of eight buildings that pay homage to one of America’s most celebrated authors. Visitors can tour Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home & Garden—a designated National Historic Landmark—to see where Samuel Langhorne Clemens grew up and the real adventures of Tom Sawyer took place, then pop into the Interpretive Center to view a timeline of his life and several interactive exhibits. Also worth checking out are the Huckleberry Finn House (where Tom Blankenship grew up), the Becky Thatcher House (featuring a museum dedicated to Laura Hawkins and childhood in the mid-1800s), the J.M. Clemens Justice of the Peace Office (where Twain’s father held court), and the Museum Gallery (home to 15 Norman Rockwell paintings and treasured Clemens family artifacts). Before heading out, be sure to pose for a family photo in front of the Tom & Huck Statue, which sits at the foot of Cardiff Hill.
They say great wine in a result of it’s terroir, so might the same be true of the boyhood town of a great writer? Being a fan of Mark Twain, I ventured to Hannibal, MO for the Fourth of July to see if my theory would hold up. Does a great town a writer make? The Mark Twain Home and Museum is a fine place to start ones research. Situated along Main Street, the museum is chock full of all kinds of memorabilia from Twain’s life. You will find books he has written, stories about his life growing up in Hannibal, and a litany of newspaper articles, letters, photographs and other artifacts. There is also an impressive collection of Norman Rockwell illustrations that he created for Twain’s books. If you mosey on down Main Street, you will come upon Twain’s boyhood home, his father’s law office, Becky Thatcher’s house, Grant’s Drug Story, and a faithful reproduction of Huck Finn’s house. The history lesson alone is worth a visit! As you peruse the museum collection, and meander through the various haunts of Samuel Clemens, you can’t help but feel that it must have been a grand time to be a kid back when lil’ Sam was growing up. Imagine the magic of living in a small town situated on the bank of the Mississippi River back in the 1800’s. I bet you could grow up and have a fair amount of life lessons to share, and myriad stories to tell, with many an eager listener. So did the town make Twain or, perhaps, did Twain make the town? I think the answer is ‘yes’ to both.