Christmas at The Mark Twain House

Spend Christmas with the Clemenses!

For the safety of our visitors and staff, The Mark Twain House & Museum has decided to remain closed to the public through the month of December. This means we cannot offer our holiday tours in their traditional form, but we still have plenty of ways for you to learn, play, craft, and explore the house this holiday season!

Take a peek inside the home and listen to memories of Christmases past . . .

Ballet Hartford at The Mark Twain House

Ballet Hartford dropped by while the House was decorated for the holidays to perform a few Christmas themed numbers around Twain’s mansion. See the house like you’ve never seen it before in this brand new video!

 

Director, Movement Director, Stylist
Breton Tyner-Bryan

Cinematographer
Jeremy Doran

Editor
Emily S. Ulrich

Cast
Company members of Ballet Hartford

Specials thanks to The Hartt School costume shopThis was shot entirely on location at The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut.

Christmas Verbarium

On May 12, 1875, Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford held a fund-raising spelling bee with many prominent members of the community as participants. The church’s minister, Reverend Joseph Twichell, asked his best friend Sam Clemens to open the event with a speech. During his speech, Sam explained a word game—one that you can play at home! It goes by many names, but he called it “Verbarium.”

There is a game called Verbarium. A dozen people are each provided with a sheet of paper, across the top of which is written a long word like kaleidoscopical, or something like that, and the game is to see who can make up the most words out of that in three minutes, always beginning with the initial letter of that word.

You can play with any size group, in person or virtually. Warm up with “kaleidoscopical” just to get the hang of it, and then play with these sesquipedalian seasonal selections:

GINGERBREAD, FRANKINCENSE, HALLELUJAH, JUBILATION, PFEFFERNUESSE, TANNENBAUM, PEPPERMINT, POMANDER, MERRIMENT, WENCESLAS, BETHLEHEM, WASSAILING, POINSETTIA, BALTHAZAR, SEPTENTRIONAL, ANNUNCIATION, NUTCRACKER, YULETIDE, CHRISTKINDLMARKT, BELSNICKEL, PANETTONE, INCARNATION, EPIPHANY

Learn more about Clemens’s spelling bee appearance and find more long words to play with here.