The Restoration Process
The Mark Twain House was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1963, one of the first 100 properties in the nation.
It is also the winner of a major award for restoration from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. However the restoration of an historic property is never static. An ongoing interpretation of the property requires continual revisiting of the building restoration.
The goal of The Mark Twain House restoration is to bring the historic property to the period of 1881 through 1891 by removing architectural and decorative features that were added by the people who occupied the house following the Clemenses. This will allow visitors to see the house after Tiffany and Associated Artists completed the redecoration of the first floor rooms, and it represents the decade when the Clemenses most completely furnished their home, and had improved the land to their greatest satisfaction.
Keeping the History
The physical alterations we make to the house during restoration must be based on documentary and physical evidence. When we change the appearance of any part of The Mark Twain House, we document as a record for future generations any features or materials that we remove or alter.
There is an educational component to the restoration project. Visitors coming to The Mark Twain House during the restoration period will have an unique opportunity to get a glimpse behind the scenes and watch up-close as master craftsmen bring the house back to the period between 1881 and 1891.
"The house is full of carpenters yet, on the lower floor. We have thrown down an old carpet or two and are living on the second floor. We sleep in ma's bedroom; eat in the nursery, and use my study for a parlor. Rose and Susy sleep in Livy's private sitting room which opens out of the nursery on the east front. We have gas, now, in these apartments, and water in Ma's and little Susie's bathrooms — so we are pretty comfortable and Margaret's cookery goes ahead of anything we have had a the best table in New York."
— Sam Clemens