Guide to Visiting
As of May 21, The Mark Twain House & Museum will begin to increase tour capacity and frequency while continuing to enforce safety measures, including universal face masking, advanced online ticket purchases, and enhanced sanitizing and cleaning protocols.
Timed ticket purchases are highly recommended. Tickets are now available for advanced purchase HERE.
While we are excited to welcome more visitors into what Mark Twain called “the loveliest home that ever was,” our priority is the health and safety of our visitors, our local community, and our entire Museum staff.
Because of the small size of the enclosed spaces in the historic house and Museum Center, and out of concern for those who are immuno-compromised, all museum staff and visitors are required to wear face coverings while inside museum buildings, regardless of their vaccination status. Complimentary masks are available to any guests who need one. Hand sanitizer stations are located across the Museum’s campus
While the Nook Café will remain closed for the time being, the Mark Twain Gift Shop and exhibit spaces will be open and we will continue to show our 23-minute film Mark Twain, by Ken Burns. At this time, guided tour capacity is limited to nine guests.
Policy on Universal Masking At
The Mark Twain House & Museum
Like you, we are greatly looking forward to the time that we can put away our masks and truly see each other once again. Sadly, science indicates that the COVID Virus is not yet gone. As a place of public assembly and a museum where tours force us into tight quarters with strangers in a historic house, we continue to take the pandemic safety measures very seriously.
Current Connecticut regulations state that we can go maskless inside, only if we are fully vaccinated. In order not to belabor our visitor services staff into making decisions about who is and who is not vaccinated, and to address a variety of visitors’ concerns, including those among us who are immuno-compromised, we have made the decision as a private museum to continue universal masking inside for the immediate future.
Please do not ask the desk staff to make an exception. As the CEO, I have made it clear to them that there are no exceptions.
We hope that you understand that this policy is for everyone’s good and assure you that you that even with your mask, you will have a memorable visit to the house. If you feel that you cannot abide by this policy, we understand and urge you to come back at a time when this public health problem is genuinely behind us.
The Mark Twain House & Museum is asking campus visitors to be aware of and to adhere to the following guidelines:
- The house is shown only by guided tour and advanced reservations are encourages. Tickets may be purchased online or over the phone prior to arrival.
- All visitors and staff are required to wear a face mask on our site. If you do not bring a mask, one will be provided to you. Masks must cover mouth and nose, and be worn at all times. We recognize there are medical conditions that make it impossible for some people to wear masks. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the safety of our guests and employees makes it imperative that all visitors wear masks at this time. If you or a member of your party are unable to wear a mask while visiting, we invite you to return when masks are no longer an essential part of preventing the spread of COVID-19.
- Your tickets are for a specific tour time. If you arrive late, but within 15 minutes of the start of your tour, we can catch you up to your tour in progress, but we will not add you to a later tour. If you arrive more than fifteen minutes after the start of your tour, we will not be able to catch you up, and we will not be able to offer you a refund
- The tour may last up to an hour in an enclosed space, and the house has three floors. Large parties of ten or more people should contact visitor services to make special arrangements.
- Hand sanitizer stations are positioned around campus. Please use them and the washing stations in our public restrooms.
- Coat and bag check are temporarily unavailable; please only bring smaller items you can carry around campus during your visit.
- If anyone in your party is experiencing fever, cough, or shortness of breath, you should postpone your visit to a later date. The museum will offer a refund or exchange your tickets at no cost to you. Call us at 860-280-3130 to make arrangements.
- For the safety of our visitors, staff, and volunteers, we may close for health & safety purposes, or due to inclement weather. For up to date information on any cancellations or delays: 860-247-0998 (select option 8)
- By visiting The Mark Twain House and Museum, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.
To begin your visit
Our parking lot for visitors is located at 385 Farmington Avenue, Hartford CT, 06105. To start your visit, enter the museum center adjacent to the parking lot via the stairs, or the wheelchair accessible ramp, which can be found immediately to the right of the staircase.
Our site is made up of three buildings.
The Webster Bank Museum Center at the Mark Twain House & Museum is always your first and last stop as it houses our ticket counter, museum store, film, and café. All tours gather in the museum center before heading over to Mark Twain’s historic 1874 home. Any visit will include a short walk outdoors, between buildings. Paths around these buildings are made of stone and gravel that can be uneven and slippery in some weather. Mark Twain’s historic carriage house is the third building on our property, but is generally not open to the public. The hayloft has been repurposed into offices and the main floor of the barn is a space available for rent for parties and meetings. See more about Facility Rentals here.
The House Tour has a LOT of stairs and no elevator.
The Mark Twain House is three floors with 41 stairs up to the billiard room and 40 stairs back down to the kitchen. The first floor of the historic structure is wheelchair accessible. The Webster Bank Museum Center at the Mark Twain House & museum is fully wheelchair accessible. For more details about accessibility, click here.
Tours may not be suitable for some very young children.
We are asking all our guests to wear a mask and practice physical distancing. The CDC does not recommend that children under two wear face masks or cloth face coverings, so we ask that if you have a child under 2 years old that you plan your visit for a later date when masks are no longer an essential part of preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Children between the ages of 2 and 6 are welcome on the hour-long tour; in fact, they get in free! However, a parent with a loud or disruptive child may be asked to leave the tour if the noise is detracting from the experience for others. We are happy to refund the money of any parent who needs to step out to care for a young child. The Living History and Graveyard Shift Ghost tours are not recommended for children younger than 10. We encourage parents use their discretion on whether a tour is right for their child.
Cell Phones and Photography
We ask visitors to turn off cell phones while on the guided tour.
Thank you for not taking photographs in our historic house. Our photography policy is in place for the safety of our visitors and the safety of our exceptional collections for future generations to enjoy.
We do not allow photography or videography while on tour of the Mark Twain House for several reasons:
- Flash photography is damaging to artifacts, especially textiles and paper.
- Some artifacts on display are on loan from institutions whose loan contracts require that their object not be photographed for proprietary reasons.
- Photography is distracting for other visitors.
- It is easy to trip or bump into an artifact when looking though a lens or at your cell-phone screen. Please respect our mission for preservation and our concern for your own personal safety.We welcome you to enjoy taking as many photographs of the exterior of the house as you like. As part of our special Living History tours, visitors are allowed to take photographs in the basement of the house.
Postcards with images of the interiors of the house are available for purchase in our gift shop, as is our pictorial guide to the house, The Loveliest Home That Ever Was by Steve Courtney, which includes stunning interior views by photographer John Groo.
From Springfield and Points North
Take I-91 South to I-84 West in Hartford. Take Exit 46, Sisson Avenue. At the traffic light, turn right (north) onto Sisson. Continue four blocks to the end of Sisson Avenue. At the traffic light, turn right (east) onto Farmington Avenue. Continue three blocks (approximately 2/10 mile) on Farmington and look for the sign on the right at the entrance to the museum’s free parking lot. Note: The entrance to the parking lot is one block before The Mark Twain House.
From New York City, New Haven, and Points South
Take I-91 North to I-84 West in Hartford. Take Exit 46, Sisson Avenue. At the traffic light, turn right (north) onto Sisson. Continue four blocks to the end of Sisson Avenue. At the traffic light, turn right (east) onto Farmington Avenue. Continue three blocks (approximately 2/10 mile) on Farmington and look for the sign on the right at the entrance to the museum’s free parking lot. Note: The entrance to the parking lot is one block before The Mark Twain House.
From Waterbury and Points West
Take I-84 East to Hartford; take Exit 46, Sisson Avenue. At the traffic light, turn right onto Sisson. Continue four blocks to the end of Sisson Avenue. At the traffic light, turn right (east) onto Farmington Avenue. Continue three blocks (approximately 2/10 mile) on Farmington and look for the sign on the right at the entrance to the museum’s free parking lot. Note: The entrance to the parking lot is one block before The Mark Twain House.
From Boston and Points East
Take I-84 West to Hartford; take Exit 46, Sisson Avenue. At the traffic light, turn right onto Sisson. Continue four blocks to the end of Sisson Avenue. At the traffic light, turn right (east) onto Farmington Avenue. Continue three blocks (approximately 2/10 mile) on Farmington and look for the sign on the right at the entrance to the museum’s free parking lot. Note: The entrance to the parking lot is one block before The Mark Twain House.
For Passengers with Limited Mobility
Follow the above directions, but continue east on Farmington Avenue and go past the Mark Twain House. Take your first right onto Forest Street and look for the sign on the right for the entrance to the Museum Center’s rear parking lot at 65 Forest Street.
Arriving by Bus
CT Transit buses 60, 62, 64, and 66 connect The Mark Twain House & Museum with downtown Hartford and West Hartford Center. A transit shelter is located adjacent to the museum at Farmington Avenue and Woodland Street.
There is ample FREE parking for cars and buses in our Farmington Avenue lot and an additional smaller lot off Forest Street. Set your GPS for 385 Farmington Avenue, Hartford to find our main parking lot entrance or to 65 Forest Street for the smaller lot. Please note that the parking lot entrance is located a few hundred feet to the west of the Mark Twain House itself.
Note! Please be aware that our main parking lot is being re-paved. During this time, only half of the lot will be open for parking.Directions to our parking lot
The first floor of The Mark Twain House is wheelchair accessible, but guests must be able to negotiate three flights of stairs for the complete tour. The Museum Center is fully wheelchair accessible. ASL Interpretation can be arranged with advance notice. To arrange tours for visitors with special needs call (860) 247-0998, ext. 130.