Twain's head flanked by posters of movies he never saw.
Twain's head flanked by posters of movies he never saw.

Mark Twain Museum

Field review by the editors.

Hannibal, Missouri

The Mark Twain artifacts that once were displayed in the Mark Twain Boyhood Home have been shifted here: a two-story former department store that dates from Twain's time. Its location, two blocks away from the Boyhood Home, was chosen so visitors would have to walk past more Hannibal tourist businesses.

Twain's writing hand in carbonite? No, bronze.
Twain's writing hand in carbonite? No, bronze.

A ghostly statue of Twain is the first thing a visitor sees in the museum, sitting in a replica of his home library (which was in Connecticut, not Hannibal), reading to a spectral Tom Sawyer while Huck Finn lurks over the author's shoulder. Interactive exhibits encourage kids to stand on Huck Finn's raft, walk through Tom Sawyer's cave, sit inside a stagecoach, pull the toot-toot whistle of a Mississippi riverboat.

The second floor displays Twain tribute art as well as personal effects from his life. One big, scowling bronze head suggests Stalin more than Twain; another head is from a never-finished Hannibal mega-monument of the 1930s; a third sculpture depicts Twain writing in bed with hands, but no arms, and claims that a copy of this bizarre bronze is in the White House.

There are exhibits of Twain-endorsed products such as Mark Twain's Fountain Pen, Mark Twain Flour, and a box of Mark Twain Cigars ("Known to Everyone -- Liked by All"). One of his iconic white linen jackets hangs next to his not-well-known Oxford commencement robes.

Twain's favorite writing desk and chair are sealed inside a plexiglass box. Display cases feature Twain's pipe, hat, pocket watch, and his $10,000 life insurance policy. We were relieved to see that, despite the museum's relocation and upgrade, it still showcases two of its most unusual items: a bronze cast of Twain's writing hand, and a plaster death mask of Twain's son, Langdon, who died as a toddler.

Mark Twain Museum

Address:
120 N. Main St, Hannibal, MO
Directions:
Downtown, in the historic district, at the corner of N. Main St. and Center St.
Hours:
Daily 9-5 (Call to verify)
Phone:
573-221-9010
Admission:
Adults $11. This also covers admission to the Mark Twain Boyhood Home.
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Hannibal: Twain TownHannibal: Twain Town, Hannibal, MO - < 1 mi.
Karlock Cars and Pop Culture MuseumKarlock Cars and Pop Culture Museum, Hannibal, MO - < 1 mi.
Mark Twain, Riverboat PilotMark Twain, Riverboat Pilot, Hannibal, MO - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Jim Brown's Gas Station, Center, MO - 16 mi.

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June 19, 2019

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