News / Arts & Entertainment

Economic Downturn Impacts Mark Twain's Boyhood Home

Museum officials appeal to author's fans for money

Author Mark Twain's boyhood home is now preserved as a museum in Hannibal, Missouri.
Author Mark Twain's boyhood home is now preserved as a museum in Hannibal, Missouri.

Multimedia

Kane Farabaugh

The American writer Ernest Hemingway once said, "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called, "Huckleberry Finn."

Visitors from around the world come to the small town of Hannibal, Missouri on the banks of the Mississippi River to see Twain's hometown.

The town includes many of the places Twain made famous in books like, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn."  

The year 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of Twain's death and the 125th anniversary of "Huckleberry Finn."

The town of Hannibal is celebrating both milestones by appealing to literary fans worldwide, hoping they'll donate funds to help maintain some of the landmarks made famous in Twain's books.

Hometown Boy

Referring to Hannibal, Twain once remarked "It had me for a citizen, but I was too young then to really hurt the place."

Of all the places he would inhabit, visit or write about, Hannibal, Missouri held a special place for Mark Twain.

"After he left Hannibal, I think Hannibal never left him," says Henry Sweets, curator of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum. "I think the exposure that he had to everything from school to church to slavery to many of these childhood experiences are what enriched his writings later on."

The places Twain immortalized in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn,"  are preserved by the museum.

The house where he lived attracts tourists from around the world, and so does the white-washed fence that his fictional character, Tom Sawyer, reluctantly painted.

The year 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of Mark Twain's death and the 125th anniversary of the publication of
The year 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of Mark Twain's death and the 125th anniversary of the publication of "Huckleberry Finn."

"During the course of a year, we will have (people from) 70 or 80 different countries who will sign our guest register," says Sweets.

Feeling the pinch

According to Sweets, about 300,000 people visited Hannibal last year. About 20 percent visited the museum.

The number is down from previous years, and more visitors are local or from neighboring states than from foreign countries.

Museum Executive Director Cindy Lovell attributes the downturn to the global recession.

Twain museum officials say tourism was down last year.
Twain museum officials say tourism was down last year.

"The tourism economy doesn't just impact us at the museum," says Lovell. "It impacts everyone here with hotels motels, restaurants, the shops, all these things depends on Mark Twain bringing tourists to visit us."

Lovell says with fewer tourists, the museum has less money to spend on repairs to buildings, like Grant's Drug Store which figures in several of Twain's stories.

"This building has been placed on Missouri Preservation's most endangered buildings list, and it's critical for us to get it preserved so yeah, we need a lot of money."

The museum hopes to raise $10 million by the end of 2010 for the upkeep of buildings that were important to Mark Twain.
The museum hopes to raise $10 million by the end of 2010 for the upkeep of buildings that were important to Mark Twain.

Fundraising appeal to fans

The museum hopes to raise $10 million by the end of 2010 for the upkeep of buildings that were important to Twain.

Lovell is appealing to the general public. "We're trying to reach one million Mark Twain fans around the world and we're asking each of them to donate just ten dollars a piece."

Lovell admits the Twain fundraiser borrows from Barack Obama's fundraising philosophy during his presidential campaign by appealing to a large number of people for small donations.

"It sounds exactly like that, and of course, I'm taking my lead from his success," she says. "I was one of those small time donors. I think a lot of us were."

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

ILO: Women Still Losing Out in Global Work Place

International Labor Organization says women are marginally better off now than they were 20 years ago More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

Country-pop singer, Lizzie Sider sits down with "Border Crossings" host Larry London to perform songs from her new album, “Butterfly,” and to talk about her anti-bullying tour.

Blogs

African Music Treasures