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.



# FREE House Tours for Hartford Residents

Monday, January 16, 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Hartford residents are invited to tour the Mark Twain House & Museum for free on Monday, January 16 -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For this special occasion, visitors will have the chance to chat with Katy Leary and George Griffin, treasured members of the Clemens family's household staff.

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


Wednesday, January 18, January 18 -February 22 6 to 8 p.m.


Six-week writing workshop - Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m.

January 18 & 25; February 1, 8, 15 & 22

Is your New Year’s Resolution to wrap up that writing project you put on hold when the holidays hit?  Have an idea you’ve been meaning to get started on, but haven’t gotten around to?  Need a little push from a classroom structure to get you going?  Appreciate feedback from other motivated writers, and from a professional instructor?  Here’s your answer!  Whether you’re working on memoir, essay, kids fiction, humor — or anything else — Winter Writers Workshop is perfect for you.

Hank Herman is the author of Accept My Kid, Please! A Dad’s Descent Into College Application Hell, an acclaimed memoir, and Super Hoops, a series of basketball novels for kids.  His award-winning humor column, “The Home Team,” has been running for over 20 years, and is still going strong.  Hank also co-writes the Hearst Newspapers blog “Beagle Man,” alternating posts with his dog, Kemba.  The blog doubles as as a hilarious travelogue when Hank and Kemba hit the road every fall for their great adventure: a one-month-long cross-country road trip!  Hank also leads writing workshops at his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, and at Trinity College and Norwalk Community College.

$300; $270 for members of The Mark Twain House & Museum

Registration limited to 8.

To register, click here.

# The MOuTH

Friday, January 20, 7:30 p.m.

the mouth first things first logoFirst Things First

Do you have a story about the first time you did something? Or when you were there to see someone else give something a shot for once? Whatever experience the word “first” makes you think of, come hear & tell stories on the theme “First Things First” at The MOuTH at the Mark Twain House & Museum on Friday, January 20, at 7:30 p.m.!

Here's how to submit your story for consideration:

E-mail with your name and a short description of what your story is about. No need to give me every detail, just a few sentences that get me curious. Submissions close a week and a day before the event, but the sooner you can e-mail me, the happier I’ll be, and the happier I’ll be… Well, the happier I’ll be.

Your story must be FEWER 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!). During the event, you'll see Chion in the front row with a fancypants iPad that will count you down. If you go over the time limit, she'll tackle you in front of everybody (IN HER MIND).

***STORIES ARE TOLD WITHOUT NOTES! You just get up there and tell the tale off the top of your head***

***STORIES ARE REAL! Not that we’ll be doing any fact-checking, but this event features TRUE stories***

If you don't get on the list, don't take it personally! It's our loss, and hopefully we can hear from you at a future MOuTH event (see below).

There is also a "Wild Card"! After the fifth speaker finishes, Chion asks volunteers to raise their hands and holler out a number. Those numbers are put into a hat/pocket/bowl/basket/crock pot/human skull, and whoever is chosen has a 5-minute limit to tell their story on that night’s theme before the final speaker goes on.

Does this theme not excite you? Well, I’m always accepting submissions for ALL of our 2017 themes:

March 31 - You Can’t Always Get What You Want

June 9 - Take My Advice

September 8 - Realizing the Obvious: Epiphanies  

November 17 - All In The Family

These events are audio-recorded, and though I’ll ask you to sign a release if you are telling a story, your participation on stage doubles as permission to use the story in any broadcasts that I’m scheming up. If you are a speaker and want to keep your recording private, please let me know before the event is over.

Profanity IS allowed, dammit!

-Have an idea for a theme in the future? Have something on your mind about The MOuTH? Email

- Chion Wolf, The MOuTH

Tickets are $12; each storyteller and his or her plus-one get in free. Click here for tickets.

Buy Tickets


Saturday, January 21, Saturday, January 21 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.


Saturday, January 21, 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Whether characters have begun to whisper Hear me.  Tell my story, or your own life has cracked wide open and the only way you can make sense of it is to let the words spill out on the page and order the chaos right before your eyes, this one-day workshop will help you identify the elements of story and shape story in your authentic voice.   

The day will include writing prompts and theory discussion about techniques to create strong voice on the page as author and through techniques of character, plot, dialogue, point of view and setting.  Create a world on the page that makes people hungry to keep turning pages.  This workshop is for both fiction and nonfiction writers.

Who:  Both new and practicing writers.

What: A  one-day writing workshop for fiction and nonfiction.

Where: The Webster Bank Museum Center at The Mark Twain House & Museum

When: Saturday. Jamuary 21, 2017, 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Why: Because your story needs to be told.

$60; $54 for members of The Mark Twain House & Museum

Registration limited to 20.

To register, 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.



# NEW: Living History Tours with George Griffin

Wednesday, February 8,

George Griffin, Mark Twain's butler, is our "most requested" Living History character, and it's easy to see why. Samuel Clemens said of George, "He was well-built, shrewd, wise, polite, always good-natured, honest, religious, a cautious truth-speaker, devoted friend to the family, champion of its interests, a sort of idol to the children ... He had the respect, and I may say, the warm friendly regard of every visiting intimate of our house. There was nothing commonplace about George." George served the Clemens family for seventeen years. Take a tour with George, and be prepared to be entertained!


George Griffin tours begin in February, with the following dates:
Wednesday, February 8 at 11:00 and 1:00
Thursday, February 16 at 11:00, 1:00, and 3:00
Thursday, February 23 at 11:00, 1:00 and 3:00
Sunday, February 26 at 11:00, 1:00 and 3:00

Tickets are $25 for adults, $17 for children ages 6 to 16.

Click here or call our ticket line at 860-280-3130 and book a Living History tour today!


# CLUE Mystery Murder Tours of the Mark Twain House

Friday, February 10, Tours leave every 15 minutes from 7 to 7:45 p.m.

CLUE Mystery Murder Tours of the Mark Twain House



CLUE Murder Mystery Tours take participants through 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 its witty interpretations of audience suggestions.  The troupe performs 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 $24; museum members are $17; children 6 to 17 are $15.  

Lets Go Arts program members are entitled to a discount; click the ticket-purchase link below to learn more.

To purchase tickets call 860- 247-0998 or click HERE!

# Mark My Words An Evening with Gina Barreca

Thursday, February 16, 7:00 p.m.

Mark My Words:

An Evening with Gina Barreca

Author Gina Barreca comes to The Mark Twain House & Museum to talk about "How to be Funnier in 2017: Why Humor Matters" on Thursday, February 16, at 7:00 p.m.

Dr. Gina Barreca has appeared on 20/20The Today ShowCNN, the BBCNPR and Oprah to discuss gender, power, politics, and humor. Her earlier books include the bestselling They Used to Call Me Snow White But I Drifted: Women’s Strategic Use of HumorIt’s Not That I’m Bitter, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Visible Panty Lines and Conquered the World, and Babes in Boyland: A Personal History of Coeducation in the Ivy League. Of the other six books she’s written or co-written, several have been translated into to other languages–including Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, and German.  Called “smart and funny” by People magazine and “Very, very funny. For a woman,” by Dave Barry, Gina was deemed a “feminist humor maven” by Ms. Magazine. Novelist Wally Lamb said “Barreca’s prose, in equal measures, is hilarious and humane.”

Gina’s weekly columns from The Hartford Courant are now distributed internationally by the Tribune Co. and her work has appeared in most major publications, including The New York TimesThe Independent of LondonThe Chronicle of Higher EducationCosmopolitan, and The Harvard Business Review. She’s Professor of English and Feminist Theory at the University of Connecticut and winner of UConn’s highest award for excellence in teaching. Gina has delivered, often as a repeat guest, keynotes at events organized by The Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, the National Writers Workshop, the Women’s Campaign School at Yale and the National Association of Independent Schools, The Chicago Humanities Festival, Women In Federal Law Enforcement, Chautauqua and The Smithsonian–to name a few.

Her B.A. is from Dartmouth College, where she was the first woman to be named Alumni Scholar, her M.A. is from Cambridge University, where she was a Reynold’s Fellow, and her Ph.D. is from the City University of New York, where she lived close to a good delicatessen. A member of the Friars’ Club and the first female graduate of Dartmouth College invited to have her personal papers requested by the Rauner Special Collections Library, Gina can be found in the Library of Congress or in the make-up aisle of Walgreens. She grew up in Brooklyn and Long Island but now lives with her husband in Storrs, CT. Go figure.

The first 50 registrants will receive a FREE copy of Barreca's most recent book, "If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?": Questions and Thoughts for Loud, Smart Women in Turbulent Times!

Barreca will sign books after her talk.

Tickets are $25; $20 for members of
The Mark Twain House & Museum and Lets Go Arts members.

Buy tickets here!


barreca buy tix button


# Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours are Back!

Friday, February 24, Friday, February 24 & Saturday, February 25 Tours run at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m, and 9 p.m.

Back by popular demand: Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours!

ghost tour image

Filled with haunted history, dark tales, and Victorian traditions surrounding seances and spiritualism, these nighttime tours are as educational as they are goosebump-inducing. Participants will hear lots of creepy tales -- and learn about Mark Twain's interest in the supernatural.

The Mark Twain House has been featured on Syfy Channel's Ghost Hunters and the Biography Channel's My Ghost Story.

The tours sell out fast, so be sure to call 860- 247-0998 soon to make your reservations!

The tours are sponsored by Tsunami Tsolutions.

Tickets are $25, $17 for children ages 6 to 16, and $20 for members of The Mark Twain House & Museum. Click here for tickets.

Can't make it this time? Ghost Tours will be offered on March 24 & 25, April 28 & 29, June 23 & 24, July 28 & 29, August 25 & 26, and October 6, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 & 28.


# Writing Class: Writing for Children with Pegi Deitz Shea

Monday, February 27, 6 to 8 p.m.

Writing for Children
with Pegi Deitz Shea
February 27-April 3, 6-8 p.m.


Want to write for children and teens? Do you have ideas but don’t know where to start and how to get published? Pegi Deitz Shea will show you the range of children’s fiction, nonfiction and poetry, help you write your book, and teach how to use constructive critique to improve your skills. Come away from the course with at least one manuscript ready to submit to an agent or editor. Shea is a two-time winner of the Connecticut Book Award for Children's Literature, and has published in all formats for children--board book, picture book, nonfiction, poetry, middle grade and Young Adult fiction. Come and work on whatever book you want!

$300 ($275 for MTH&M Members and Let's GO Arts! cardholders) Registration is limited; click here to sign up!



# The Trouble Begins at 5:30: Twain as Public Intellectual: Laughs, Limits, and Lessons

Thursday, March 2, 5:00 Reception, 5:30 Lecture

Prof. Benjamin Railton will speak on Mark Twain's role as a public intellectual. This lecture will examine how the public Mark Twain, as both humorist and critic, can be used as a lens through which we can view all aspects of our society, both good and bad.

Ben Railton is Professor of English & American Studies, Fitchburg State University, Fitchburg, Massachusetts. He is the author of several books on American history and literature, including History and Hope in American Literature: Models of Critical Patriotism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and Contesting the Past, Reconstructing the Nation: American Literature and Culture in the Gilded Age, 1876-1893 (University of Alabama Press, 2007).  He also produces a daily American Studies blog ( and is a contributor to sites such as The Huffington Post and We're History.

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

This event is presented at no cost but reservations are highly suggested. Call (860) 247-0998 or to reserve tickets click here.

# Susy's Birthday Party!

Sunday, March 19, 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Come help Mark Twain’s oldest daughter, Susy Clemens, celebrate her birthday! 

susy's birthday table

Registered guests will attend a special birthday celebration in the Carriage House Barn and meet costumed characters, including Mark Twain, his wife Livy, and their daughter and birthday girl Susy Clemens.  Party activities include Victorian parlor games, crafts, birthday cake, story time, and mini-tours of the Mark Twain House.

Sponsored by The Hartford

Reservations are required, and this event may sell out, so please book early.

Tickets are $5 per person.  This event is geared to elementary school-aged children, grades 3 to 6, and their caregivers.  

To purchase tickets call 860-247-0998 or click HERE!

# Writing Class: Creating the Story Arc with Susanne Davis

Monday, March 20, 6 to 8 p.m.

Creating the Story Arc
with Susanne Davis
March 20-April 24, 6-8 p.m.

$300 ($275 for MTH&M members and Let's GO Arts! cardholders)
Registration is limited; click here to sign up!

# The MOuTH Storytelling Series: "You Can't Always Get What You Want"

Friday, March 31, 7 to 9 p.m.

Did you ever want something that you didn't get?
Did you ever get something that you didn't want?

the mouth can't always get what you want

Whatever experience the saying "You Can't Always Get What You Want" makes you think of, come hear and tell stories about that very thing at The MOuTH, organized and hosted by Chion Wolf, at The Mark Twain House & Museum on
Friday, March 31, at 7:30 p.m.!

For information about how to submit a story and this year's The MOuTH schedule, click here.


Tickets are $12; each storyteller and his or her plus-one get in free. Click here for tickets.



# The Trouble Begins at 5:30: The Haunted Mark Twain

Thursday, April 6, 5:00 Reception, 5:30 Lecture

In his autobiography, Mark Twain described a childhood filled with adventure and innocent fun--in the daylight hours. In his Autobiography, however, Twain wrote that he "was never quite sane in the night." In her talk, Dr. Ann M. Ryan will explore Twain's fears and the gothic literature that he both consumed and created. 

Ann M. Ryan is O’Connell Professor of the Humanities and Professor of English, LeMoyne College, Syracuse, New York. She is a past President of the Mark Twain Circle of America, a former Editor of the Mark Twain Annual, and co-editor of Cosmopolitan Twain (University of Missouri Press, 2008).

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

This event is presented at no cost but reservations are highly suggested. Call (860) 247-0998 or to reserve tickets click here.



# The Trouble Begins at 5:30: The Innocents Abroad: A Virtual Tour

Thursday, May 11, 5:00 Reception, 5:30 Lecture

Kevin Mac Donnell will take the audience on a virtual tour of the Middle East, following the exact route of Mark Twain and his fellow pilgrims on board the steamship Quaker City in 1867. Each stop along the way will be illustratd with original photographs taken by one of the pilgrims (many previously unpublished), excerpts from previously unpublished letters and diaries, and relics gathered by one of the pilgrims that have never been shown before, along with other original artifacts and materials that will bring the historcal experience alive.

Mark Twain’s experiences on the Quaker City Excursion resulted in his second book (and first bestseller) The Innocents Abroad, in 1869. Mac Donnell’s virtual recreation of that excursion is the first attempt to bring this historic event alive outside of print.

Kevin Mac Donnell has built the largest private collection of Mark Twain artifacts in the world.  He has spoken and written extensively about Mark Twain and about his collection, and has consulted on exhibitions related to Twain.  He is also the co-editor of Mark Twain and Youth: Studies in His Life and Writings (Bloomsbury, 2016).

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

This event is presented at no cost but reservations are highly suggested. Call (860) 247-0998 or to reserve tickets click here.



# The Trouble Begins at 5:30: "My Dear Howells:" The Literary Friendship of Samuel Clemens and William Dean Howells

Thursday, June 8, 5:00 Reception, 5:30 Lecture

The personal and professional relationship of Mark Twain and William Dean Howells was one of the most important in American letters. Howells was a significant literary gatekeeper as editor of the Atlantic Monthly, as well as a major novelist in his own right. Understanding their relationship illuminates the culture, business, and ideas that animated post-Civil War American literature.

Daniel Mrozowski is a Visiting Lecturer in English at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut. Dr. Mrozowski is the President of the William Dean Howells Society of America, a scholarly organization dedicated to the study of the 19th century editor, author and critic, that sponsors regular panels at the annual American Literature Association convention.  Dr. Mrozowski’s research and writing focuses on 19th century American literature and its intersection with business history.  He is working on a book about the rise of the corporation and its influence on American fiction during the Gilded Age.

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

This event is presented at no cost but reservations are highly suggested. Call (860) 247-0998 or to reserve tickets click here.



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