Events & Programs

A Rich Selection of Activities for Young and Old and In Between

Mark Twain loved a good circus, and so do we. So we are proud to present a rich array of events that range from the "Trouble Begins at 5:30" lecture series, to the "Tapping into Twain" Oktoberfest, to the many family activities such as Tom Sawyer Day and the Ice Cream Social, to our spooky Graveyard Shift ghost tours, to our Mark My Words event and other appearances by major authors – and much, much more. So have a look through the year ahead by clicking on the tabs below.



# 2016 Family Series presents: TANGLEWOOD MARIONETTES!

Saturday, November 5, 2:00 p.m.

Family fun with marionettes!


A swashbuckling tale set in exotic lands, AN ARABIAN ADVENTURE tells the tale of a Persian prince who is thrown into a dungeon because of his love for a beautiful princess.  Facing danger at every turn, the courageous prince must use his wits his escape his prison, defeat the diabolical vizier, and save the princess from a tragic fate.

Each event not only includes a performance, but an educational activity/workshop/interactive component.

Family Programs sponsored by The Hartford


Tickets: $10 adults/$5 children; Click HERE for tickets!

# The Trouble Begins at 5:30: Mark Twain and American Presidents

Thursday, November 10, Reception at 5:00; Lecture at 5:30

Mark Twain and American Presidents

Mark Twain’s frank observations about American culture in the Gilded Age often ring true today.  His take on the Presidents of his day are funny, insightful and could still be applied to the modern presidency.  Join Mark Twain House employees Mallory Howard and Jason Scappaticci as they explore Twain on the American Presidency, two days after our next election.

Mallory Howard is the Assistant Curator at The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford and has worked at the museum for over 8 years.  She has a special interest in Mark Twain’s marginalia and was fortunate to discover new marginalia at the Hartford residence in 2011.  Ms. Howard has lectured on the subject for numerous institutions including libraries, community centers, and universities.  She studied American History at Central Connecticut State University and was inducted into the national history honor society Phi Alpha Theta;  she also holds a certification from the Modern Archives Institute in Washington D.C.

Jason Scappaticci is from Manchester, CT, where he works as Director of New Students and First Year Programs at Manchester Community College.  He is also active in local politics and is currently serving in his second term on the Manchester Board of Education.  He earned a BA in history from Utica College and an MA in American Studies from Trinity College in Hartford.  He has a number of lectures on historical topics and has traveled through many towns of the state to give the lectures for senior centers, libraries and historical societies.  He has also been invited to speak at the Old State House in Hartford. 


The Trouble Begins at 5:30 is generously supported by Hot Tomato's Ristorante and Manchester Wine and Liquors.


Free event - reservations are highly suggested. Call (860) 247-0998 or to reserve tickets click here.

# The Mark Twain House & Museum 2016 Annual Gala: An Evening with Ira Glass

Saturday, November 12, 8:00 p.m.

Ira Glass Presents: 7 Things I've Learned

The Mark Twain House & Museum is pleased to present An Evening with Ira Glass, featuring his newest performance, “Seven Things I’ve Learned” as part of our Annual Gala at The Bushnell in Hartford, Connecticut.

VIP ticket packages include a private dinner reception with Mr. Glass, premiere performance seating for the show, and a private post-show dessert reception. Cost is $275 per person; $125 of each ticket is tax deductible. Please call 860-280-3112 to purchase; space is extremely limited.

With thanks to our Sponsors...

Tom Sawyer Sponsor:


Gilded Age Sponsors:


Connecticut Yankee Sponsors:


Steamboat Sponsors:




With special thanks to:


This event will include our exclusive auction of unique items to benefit The Mark Twain House & Museum.

VIP Gala packages include a private dinner reception with Mr. Glass, premiere performance seating for the show, and a private post-show dessert reception. Cost is $275 per person; $125 of each ticket is tax deductible. Please call 860-280-3112 to purchase; space is extremely limited.

General Admission tickets are $28 to $68 with special pricing for college students!

Members receive $5 off Gold Circle Tickets.

# Roy Blount Jr.: A "Mark My Words" Event

Thursday, November 17, 6:00 p.m. VIP Reception - 7:30 p.m. Event

Roy Blount Jr. - Save Room for Pie

We are pleased to present acclaimed author Roy Blount Jr. for a Mark My Words event. Blount will read from his latest book, Save Room for Pie, a lively compendium of essays, poems, songs, limericks, and news stories (both fake and real) about food. Blount will speak at the Lincoln Financial Auditorium in The Mark Twain House & Museum on Thursday, November 17, at 7:30 p.m., preceded by a VIP reception at 6:00 p.m. 

Roy Blount Jr. is a highly accomplished writer with a versatile and distinctly humorous style. His subjects have ranged from the Pittsburgh Steelers (About Three Bricks Shy of a Load ) to Duck Soup, the Marx Brothers' war satire  (Hail, Hail Euphoria!) to two delightful examinations of words, usage, and letters themselves (Alphabet Juice and Alphabetter Juice).

His second book, Crackers, prompted Norman Mailer to say, "Page for page, Roy Blount is as funny as anyone I've read in a long time."

Blount is a panelist on NPR's Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me, ex-president of the Authors Guild, a member of PEN and the Fellowship of Southern Authors, a New York Public Library Literary Lion, a Boston Public Library Literary Light, a usage consultant to the American Heritage Dictionary, and an original member of the Rock Bottom Remainders.

Copies of Save Room for Pie will be available for purchase.

The Mark Twain House & Museum's Mark My Words series is generously sponsored by The Hartford, Wish You Well Foundation, and Hoffman Auto Group.

$30 ($25 for Mark Twain House members and Let's GO Arts! members.)

$75 VIP Reception with Roy - Save room for pie, coffee, and conversation from 6:00 to 7:00. VIP tickets include priority seating for the 7:30 event.


# The MOuTH - Chew on This: Stories About Things You Put In Your Mouth

Friday, November 18, 7:30 p.m.

The MOuTH!

The Mark Twain House & Museum continues "The MOuTH," a storytelling series with WNPR personality Chion Wolf.

The event is in no way a competition, just storytelling in front of friends in a museum dedicated to Mark Twain, one of our country's best storytellers.

Submissions are now open. Here's how it works: Email with your name, approximate story length of LESS THAN 10 MINUTES (note - it usually takes longer to tell your story than you think! Tell it a few times to friends, refine it, and time it!), and a short description of what your story is about.

Wolf will look over the submissions and assemble a lineup. "If you don't get on the list, don't take it personally," says Wolf. "It's our loss, and hopefully we can hear from you at a future 'Mouth' event."

There will also be a "Wild Card." Those wanting to tell a short story can put their names in a hat when they arrive, and at some point, a name will be picked.

Chion Wolf, technical producer, announcer, and photographer for WNPR, can be heard on the Colin McEnroe Show Monday through Friday at 1 and 8pm, and during breaks throughout the week!

$5.00 (Storytellers chosen for the lineup get in free.) Call (860) 247-0998 or click here.

# SIX BY TWAIN: Short Stories by Mark Twain Adapted for the Stage by David Carkeet

Wednesday, November 30, 7:00 p.m. 2 hr. performance; 10 min intermission. Reception following.


Join us for a staged reading of these brand-new play adaptations of classic Mark Twain short stories--“The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg,” “The McWilliamses and the Burglar Alarm,” “Cannibalism in the Cars,” “Buck Fanshaw’s Funeral,” “What Is Man?” and Twain’s Adam and Eve diaries. Novelist and Twainian David Carkeet has adapted these stories for the stage, capturing their delightful characters, their surprising story lines, and their linguistic playfulness. The staged reading will be directed by Chris Bushey, with a cast of veteran community theater actors from central Connecticut.

David Carkeet is the author of six novels, three of them New York Times Book Review Notable Books of the Year. One of them, The Full Catastrophe, was adapted for the stage by playwright Michael Weller, and it premiered last summer at the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Carkeet has written extensively about Mark Twain for scholarly and general audiences. His essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Village Voice, Smithsonian, Salon, Poets and Writers, and The Oxford American.

What better way to celebrate Mark Twain’s birthday on November 30 than to relish these favorite short stories vividly reimagined for the stage? And, yes, there will be cake!

This event is graciously sponsored by The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation

Tickets are $10 General Admission - $5 MTH&M Members - Students, educators, & seniors are FREE with Valid ID!

To purchase tickets Call (860) 247-0998 or click HERE!



# CLUE Tours of the Mark Twain House

Friday, December 2, 7:00 - 10:00 p.m.


CLUE Murder Mystery Tours will be offered in a special, one-night-only edition at The Mark Twain House & Museum, using the various rooms (secret passageway, conservatory, billiards room, and more) of the Twain house -- and some of the author's favorite literary characters -- as part of the game. 

Who killed that varmint Pap Finn? Was it Tom Sawyer in the Library with the Wrench? Merlin in the Billiard Room with the Knife? The Pauper in the Kitchen with the Rope?

Play our live-action version of the classic board game CLUE in an hour-long tour featuring the famed comedy troupe SEA TEA IMPROV as Twain's beloved characters/suspects. CLUE Tours provide all the murder, mayhem and merriment you expect in a whodunit. Our Clue Tours were featured on an episode of the Travel Channel show "Wackiest Tours!"

Sea Tea Improv is an improv comedy company professionally trained by Hartford Stage Company, ImprovBoston, and the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York that dazzles Hartford and beyond on a regular basis with their witty interpretations of audience suggestions.  They perform short improvised games and long improvised plays at public & private functions, teach classes to students of all ages, and train professionals in the art of communication. They've performed all over Connecticut, New England, and up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

This event is supported by Webster Bank.

Reservations are required, and tours sell out, so please book early.

Tickets are $22; museum members are $17; children 6 to 17 are $15.  

To purchase tickets, please call (860) 247-0998 or click HERE!

# FREE House Tours for Hartford Residents

Saturday, December 3, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Our holiday tradition is back!

Hartford residents are invited to tour the Mark Twain House & Museum for free on Saturday, December 3rd, when the house will be beautifully decorated for the holidays! (Proof of residency required)

Please note that this offer is not in conjunction with our Living History Tours and that the last tour starts at 4:30 p.m.

FREE for Hartford Residents (Proof of residency required)

For more information call 860-247-0998

Sponsored by The Hartford

# 36th Annual Holiday House Tour

Sunday, December 4, 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

The Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum present the 36th Annual Holiday House Tour!

Mark Twain's home

In addition to The Mark Twain House, which will be decorated for the holidays, five lovely homes will also be featured on the tour decorated for the holidays and featuring live music and floral arrangements. We are pleased to present these area homes and grateful to the owners for opening their doors to all friends of The Mark Twain House. (Scroll below the photos to read full descriptions of each home.) The Twain House will be extra special this year with the opening of the restored Mahogany Suite and Carriage House barn.

John & Kathy Suisman -- 944 Mountain Road, Bloomfield

Kathy and John Suisman

Dave & Diane Kopp -- 164 Balbrae Drive, Bloomfield (The Carriage House)

Diane and David Kopp

Michael & Shari Cantor -- 39 Colony Road, West Hartford

Michael and Shari Cantor

George & Diana Jepsen -- 995 Prospect Ave, West Hartford

Diana and George Jepsen

Emily Bevelaqua & Helder Mira -- 128 North Beacon Street, Hartford

Emily Bevelaqua and Helder Mira

Our sincere thanks to these gracious hosts for welcoming everyone into their homes on this special day.

SPECIAL: As part of this year's Holiday House Tour, the tour of the Mark Twain House will feature the official reopening of the famed Mahogany Suite off the library. Closed for over a decade, we are thrilled to open it again to the public in its Gilded Age grandeur on this special day. Also, the restored portion of Mark Twain's Carriage House will also be open for the first time ever to the public - just for the 36th Annual Holiday House Tour! Don't miss it!

Details about the houses:

John & Kathy Suisman -- 944 Mountain Road, Bloomfield: This lovely home was not long ago a horse stable that was part of the Mead estate in Bloomfield (now Balbrae). It was imaginatively converted into a charming residence in 1996. First going through the wide front doors, originally the entry way for the horses, you are standing in the foyer on a rustic, faux finished checkerboard floor. Glance upward to a display of 19th century quilts from the couple's prized collection which are draped over the railing in the upper hallway. Directly opposite the foyer is a spacious and light filled living room presided over by a grand piano. Turning right in the hallway, you enter the original tack room now a comfortable office and reading room which adjoin the large and airy master bedroom. Both rooms retain the original stable flooring now sanded and highly polished. Retracing your steps past the foyer, you enter an elegant dining room with a blue and white Staffordshire collection on display. The dining room as well as the informal kitchen eating area with a large beautifully refinished table and adjacent family room originally comprised the area where the horse stalls were located. The efficient and well equipped country kitchen displays a lovingly restored hutch and cabinet. Finally, a large screened sunporch off the kitchen and eating area is undoubtedly a wonderful place to enjoy the outdoors in milder weather.

Dave & Diane Kopp -- 164 Balbrae Drive, Bloomfield (The Carriage House): This unusual and fascinating home was the original carriage house behind the Mead mansion at Balbrae and once housed the estate vehicles as well as some of the household staff. Now ingeniously converted into a lovely home, it reflects the owners' unique sense of style and taste. Approaching the building along the mansion driveway, the visitor sees two steeply pitched roofs housing the bulk of the living quarters with the vehicle garage in the center. Upon entering, a richly painted formal dining room is on the right and, proceeding down the hallway, you pass through a unique butler's pantry into a newly redesigned kitchen with a cozy dining nook adjoining. Turning to the left, there is a comfortable reading and TV area. Further along is a large light-filled sunroom which looks north over Auer Farm and towards the Simsbury and Granby hills, stunning all year round but especially in Autumn. Look for the unusual sculpture "Rise" by Dale Rogers positioned in the far patio. Proceeding further down the hallway which connects the two residential wings, you enter the comfortable living room which has now been converted into a veritable Christmas room with a richly trimmed tree and holiday decorations abounding. Note the painting of the Connecticut River in Vermont by James Urbaska. Continuing through the living room, you next turn left and pass through a quiet office and study with framed drawings from Vanity Fair. The entire home exudes a sense of comfort and hospitality.

Michael & Shari Cantor -- 39 Colony Road, West Hartford: Vision and style abound in this comfortable and spacious gray shingle and white brick home designed by Walter Crabtree and built by Phillip White in 1929. West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor and her husband Michael are the fifth owners and have created a warm environment in which they raised their four boys and entertained their guests. Off the generous foyer, the visitor passes through arched French doors into a stunning formal living room with its graceful fireplace, grand piano and an eclectic art collection. The adjoining dining room features a massive table easily seating twelve and an artistically hand painted ceiling that matches the designs on the wallpaper. Hanging above is a Murano crystal chandelier. An oil painting of West Hartford Center by Frederico completes the room. Next to the dining room, the high tech kitchen features three ovens, a Zero King Refrigerator and dishwashers hidden in cabinets. A small table set in a window seat and a center island seating four as well as a charming butler's pantry add warmth and coziness. Moving on, we pass through "the bar" which does feature a fully stocked mahogany bar and a regulation size pool table all reminiscent of an upscale cocktail lounge. The family room is next with a theater size TV and ample sectional seating conducive to watching all the UConn games. An exercise room and a combination library and music room complete the tour. Truly a unique home expressing the owners' taste and style.

George & Diana Jepsen -- 995 Prospect Ave, West Hartford: Situated across the street from the Governor's residence is the gracious thirty-room Georgian Colonial home of Attorney General George and Diana Jepsen. Built in 1916 for Lewis E. Gordon, the house was designed for entertaining as well as serving as a showcase for the beautiful formal gardens surrounding it. The expansive foyer, referred to as the "lobby" by the family, is filled with interesting quirks reflecting the social mores of an earlier time. With gleaning hardwood floors and woodwork and a dramatic circular staircase, this foyer provides access to all the public rooms through French doors. Upon entering the front door, directly across the foyer, is the charming sunroom. Painted bright yellow with a stone floor and a fountain, the sunroom is vibrant yet warm and cozy. The living room continues the rich, dark woodwork and dentil molding and includes a graceful fireplace, built-in bookcases and an expansive bay window and seat that frame views of a garden. The dining room, which has a charming, open, slightly rustic feel, once was a patio leading to the back gardens. Across the foyer, the comfortable family room is a riot of color created by the unique hand-painted murals of Elizabeth Park that adorn the walls. The large, airy kitchen has been renovated and includes cabinetry, a metal sink and wet-bar from the original butler's pantry, -- opened up to create a more spacious work area. With wood floors, a large metal island and five windows, this room is a classic in keeping with the period of the house.

Emily Bevelaqua & Helder Mira -- 128 North Beacon Street, Hartford: This home is a stellar example of the American Arts and Crafts style of architecture that emphasized a return to a simple homemade style using natural materials and was a reaction to the elaborate Victorian architecture of that period. It was completed in 1909 and the architect was Albert W. Scoville who designed a number of homes in the neighborhood. The house is deceptively large and has five bedrooms, two staircases and a third floor. Entering the front door, you pass through a bright, airy sunporch into a handsome foyer with dark woodwork and an attractive colonial desk. To the right is the living room with massive exposed beams and an attractive fireplace both characteristic of arts and crafts design. Large multiple windows allow plenty of sunlight into the living room and adjoining dining room. Don't miss the canvas ceilings as well as the many unique paintings by Hartford artists. Another unique rare find is the living room poster advertising "Mary of Scotland" from the Hartford Daily Times. Proceeding through the dining room, note the large built in cabinet and simple chandelier additional features - typical of this architectural style. Next is a convenient butler's pantry as well as an accessible kitchen. Notice through the rear windows the lovely enclosed yard filled with perennials and an arbor off to the right. The owners celebrated their wedding here in May!

Tickets: $30 Advance/$35 at the Door

Click HERE to purchase or call 860-280-3130.

# The Trouble Begins at 5:30: Mark Twain: Religion and Irreligion Co-Presented with the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life, Trinity College, Hartford

Thursday, December 8, Reception at 5:00 p.m.; Lecture at 5:30 p.m.

Mark Twain’s religious beliefs are one of the most controversial topics associated with one of America’s most controversial authors. Atheist? Agnostic? Critic? Christian? Perhaps all of the above, at different times? Twain’s religiosity has fascinated his readership since the publication of Letters from the Earth, over fifty years after his death, brought Twain’s private and distinctly un-Victorian views on religion to light. Four noted scholars will explore different aspects of Mark Twain, religion, and irreligion in the nineteenth century.

Prof. Kerry Driscoll will discuss "Mark Twain and Native American Spirituality."

Dr. Andrew Walsh will discuss "Religion in Mark Twain’s Hartford."

Steve Courtney will discuss "The Friendship Between the Rev. Joseph Twichell and Mark Twain."

The panel will be introduced and chaired by Prof. Mark Silk.

After receiving his Ph.D. in history from Harvard University, Mark Silk edited the Boston Review and spent 10 years as a reporter, editorial writer, and columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In 1996 he became the founding director of the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College in Hartford, where he is also Professor of the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is the author of Spiritual Politics: Religion and America Since World War II, Unsecular Media: Making News of Religion in America, and (with Andrew Walsh) One Nation, Divisible: How Regional Religious Differences Shape American Politics. He edits the Center's on-line magazine, Religion in the News, and his column, "Spiritual Politics," is a feature of the Religion News Service, where he is a senior columnist and contributing editor. In 2014 he became chair of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Connecticut Jewish Ledger.

Kerry Driscoll, Professor of English at the University of St Joseph, is the author of the forthcoming book, Mark Twain among the Indians, which examines the writer's attitudes towards, and conflicting representations of, Native Americans. She is the current president of the Mark Twain Circle of America.

Andrew Walsh is managing editor of Religion in the News, associate director of the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life, and visiting assistant professor of history and religion.  He holds degrees from Trinity College, Yale Divinity School, and Harvard University, where he earned a Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization in 1996.  His academic interests focus on American religious, cultural, and political history during the late 19th and 20th centuries. Walsh also worked for The Hartford Courant for six years, serving as a reporter, bureau chief, and religion writer. His doctoral dissertation is entitled: "For Our City's Welfare: Building a Protestant Establishment in Late Nineteenth Century Hartford." 

Steve Courtney is the author of Joseph Hopkins Twichell: The Life and Times of Mark Twain's Closest Friend (Georgia, 2008) winner of the Connecticut Book Award; 'The Loveliest Home That Ever Was': The Story of the Mark Twain House in Hartford (Dover, 2011); and Mark Twain's Hartford (Arcadia, 2016), among other works. He is co-editor, with Peter Messent and Harold K. Bush, of the forthcoming Mark Twain-Joseph Hopkins Twichell Letters (Georgia). He has been a journalist for forty years, much of that time at The Hartford Courant, and has served as publicist at The Mark Twain House & Museum, where he founded a Twainian lecture series and a writing program. Retired, he still works in the Curatorial Department at the museum.

The Trouble Begins at 5:30 is generously supported by Hot Tomato's Ristorante and Manchester Wine and Liqours.

Free event - reservations are highly suggested. Call (860) 247-0998 or to reserve tickets click here.



# Writing in Mark Twain's Library

Thursday, January 26, 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Not a writing class, not a writing workshop, just three hours of uninterrupted writing time in Mark Twain's own library. Join a select handful of fellow scribblers, including a special guest writer, to write, reflect, and plot whatever piece of literature you're working on. The space is quiet, except for the burbling fountain in the nearby conservatory, and infused with Mark Twain's spirit. Don't miss this once-in-a-life opportunity --and bring a friend to sit and share the experience with. Laptops welcome, but make sure you charge up before you come, as we have no power outlets to offer. Pencils only; no pens permitted!

SPACE IS LIMITED! Reserve your spot early!

Cost is $50. Please call (860) 247-0998 or click here.



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