Upcoming Exhibits

Travel Is Fatal to Prejudice: Mark Twain's Journeys Abroad

Innocents Abroad

Runs March 20, 2015 - January 26, 2016.

Mark Twain’s first major work was a travel book, The Innocents Abroad, or the New Pilgrims’ Progress, published in 1869.  In it, he writes: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” 

Three great journeys he took during his lifetime reflect the arc of his career and his deep hatred of bias and injustice (though he was not without prejudices of his own). He put all three into major books that are full of gems of Twainian observation, laughs, wisdom and lyricism.

-- In The Innocents Abroad the brash American Vandal newspaperman in Europe torments guides, camps out and makes fun of civilization. 

-- In  A Tramp Abroad  (1880) Twain follows a journey with an entourage of family and servants, a vast shopping trip – and an escape with a pal to the Alps. 

-- In Following the Equator (1897) he takes a celebrity’s journey, milked for its value in repairing the family finances – and written in grief.

-- Then, a coda: Twain's escape to the "Isles of the Blest" at the very end of his life. He finds a haven in Bermuda.

"Travel Is Fatal to Prejudice" highlights these tales of journeys with a rich array of objects and lore, storytelling, and some innovative "sets" that place you along with the author on a ship's deck, on an Alpine trail, and in an Indian market. 

A lecture on his travels and his prejudices by Craig Hotchkiss, retired Education Manager, on March 9 precedes the exhibit opening; a lecture by Henry Cohn on an unexpected encounter in what is now Israel takes place June 10.

Other events are planned: Watch our Events listings for updates.

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