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

    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 "Huckleberry Finn."
    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."


    Kane Farabaugh

    Kane Farabaugh is the Midwest Correspondent for Voice of America, where since 2008 he has established Voice of America's presence in the heartland of America.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs