Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Mark Twain restoration project receives rededication

PGAV Destinations announced the official rededication of the Pilaster House Exhibits and the Justice of the Peace Office Interpretation at the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, MO.

The rededication is scheduled for 11:30 am on Friday, July 9. The ceremony will take place on the museum mall.

“The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum is delighted to have been able to take a building that was named to the 2009 [Missouri’s] top 10 endangered properties list and have it restored. Having this important resource open allows us to present new interpretation on the formative years of Sam Clemens,” said James Lundgren, CEO and Executive Director of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum.

PGAV has worked with the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum since 2005 designing enhanced visitor experiences and exhibits as part of the overall tour of Mark Twain-related sites in Hannibal. The latest additions opened just prior to COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 and are officially celebrating a rededication. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum completed an extensive renovation of the Pilaster House — the site of Grant’s Drug Store and the Grant Residence — just down the street from the Mark Twain Boyhood Home.

Images courtesy of PGAV Destinations.

“We have been given yet another opportunity to interpret the rich stories of Sam Clemens and this place,” said Diane Lochner, PGAV Vice President. “The creativity of our team and the collaboration with leadership provided the synergies to showcase these unique stories and shed light on the event that shaped Sam’s life.”

The Pilaster House holds a little-known story from Sam Clemens’ childhood. The Clemens’ family suffered a severe financial setback, and by 1846 they had sold off most of their possessions. Their neighbors across the street, the Grants, invited the entire family of five to move in with them in the apartment above the pharmacy. For a brief time in 1846-47, this was Sam Clemens’ home. Sam’s father, John Clemens, died while the Clemens lived there.

Despite all this upheaval, Sam Clemens had fond memories of his time here, and the exhibits also capture the influences young Sam found.

Exhibits on the second floor evoke the crowded conditions the combined families must have endured. Exhibits on the first floor recreate a period pharmacy as a centerpiece of small-town life. Here, residents could get the remedies and advice that passed for modern medicine. Interactive exhibits help visitors imagine living during this time period.

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