Bring your students to visit the House where Huck, Tom and Jim were born! Our experts will not only guide your classes through the beautiful rooms where Twain worked and raised his family, but talk about the fascinating times in which he lived and which influenced his books. It’s the perfect way to bring learning to life!
Please make your reservation at least two weeks in advance of your visit. It is also helpful if you have multiple dates in mind. All tours are booked on a first-come, first-served basis. You can register or get more information by using our convenient online form below. Or, contact our admissions director:
Priority School Free Visits -- Students at priority schools may tour the historic Mark Twain House, explore our two galleries, view our documentary film, and participate in a storytelling program. Ask for details when you submit or call for a reservation.
Step back in time during a 45-to 60-minute tour of the mansion where Samuel Clemens (”Mark Twain”) lived and worked from 1874 to 1891, a very productive period in which Twain wrote such classics of American literature as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Students will see three floors of Twain’s elegantly decorated home while a tour guide facilitates a conversation about the life and legacy of one of Connecticut’s most famous residents.
This special 60-minute tour for younger students lets them experience life during the Gilded Age by combining a house and kitchen tour. Students can try on Victorian clothing and, if time permits, participate in an additional timeline activity in the Museum Center that will enhance their knowledge of the importance of Hartford and Mark Twain in United States history. This will draw deeper connections between their lives and the lives of Hartford residents more than 100 years ago!
This 20-minute program introduces Mark Twain to a younger audience, and allows them to actually try to do what Twain did best: make up stories! The program features Twin’s love of animals, particularly cats, and shows how all kinds of different critters inspired many of his most famous and humorous tales. Just as Twain created nightly bedtime stories for his three daughters using for inspiration the bric-a-brac on the mantel in the library of his home, so too will students be asked to collaboratively improvise the telling of a new story based on a selection of Victorian objects that they may have never seen before. The results are certainly creative, but they are also almost always hilarious!
In addition to actually touring and exploring the Mark Twain House & Museum, students can compliment their experience with one of our writing programs or interactive programs, either at the museum or in your school. Click on the link to see descriptions of these programs.
Older students who tour the Mark Twain House can experience this 45- to 60-minute writing program in which small groups of students analyze period photos and images of manual labor typical of the Gilded Age, and then co-write a short story that describes the drudgery inherent in the lives of the African American and immigrant servants who maintained the affluent lifestyle of the Clemens family. Students will appreciate the difficulty of working class employment during the period and the theme of social and economic stratification caused by industrialization.
During this 45- to 60-minute program, small groups of students are given binders containing primary and secondary source materials related to an individual who knew Samuel Clemens very well - a family member, a friend and/or a servant of the Clemens family. Drawing from conclusions that the students reach during a discussion of these sources, they then co-write a biography of their subject that explains how that person’s relationship with Samuel Clemens enhances their understanding of both individuals.
This two-part classroom program is designed to give advanced students of U.S. History an in-depth “jigsaw” exercise in the analysis of primary sources as they prepare an essay response to questions related to the life and legacy of Mark Twain. Two major themes of American History are explored: race and imperialism. Part I is titled The Shame is Ours: Mark Twain from Slavery to Jim Crow, and Part II is titled Mark Twain and the Rise of American Power. Parts I and II are each 90 minutes in length. One or both parts may be done during a visit to the Mark Twain House & Museum, or for an additional fee one part may be done as an outreach program at your school.
Want to simulate creativity, hone writing skills, engage critical thinking, and have fun at the same time? Have your students take a creative writing class at The Mark Twain House & Museum! Led by Julia Pistell, the Director of Writing Programs, your students will craft stories and hone their literary voices, inspired by the historic home that gave birth to the books which still define American identity. Programs can be customized by grade level, theme, topic, and class size.
This 45-minute presentation underscores the importance of Twain’s masterpiece by placing it within the context of the larger history of race relations in the United States from slavery to the modern Civil Rights movement. The program demonstrates how the book continues to be a catalyst for positive social change when properly framed within a larger curriculum.
During the 19th century, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mark Twain were two of the most famous Americans in the world. Surprisingly, they lived as neighbors in Hartford. In collaboration with the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, this program offers students the opportunity to tour both of their homes and experience this 45-minute classroom presentation that places their greatest works, Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, into historical context. Your students will understand and appreciate how these small books had such a profound influence on race relations 150 years ago and today.
Students will explore the everyday activities of the Stowe and Twain households, two authors who changed the world with their words, through hands-on learning with artifacts and primary sources, as well as try their hand at some expository or narrative writing. The program includes guided interactive tours of both the Stowe House and the Twain House.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885) are two “boys’ books” that helped to make Twain rich and famous, but they are radically different in both substance and tone.
The audience will have an opportunity to learn what motivated Mark Twain to write a sequel composed of two such distinct stories, and to see how both the joy and tragedy of Samuel Clemens’ own maturation as a businessman, husband, father and writer spurred him to pen perhaps his two most popular books. 60 minutes.
Audiences explore how a “Missouri ruffian” like Samuel Clemens who, as a consequence of his having resided in Connecticut’s capital city for twenty years, was transformed into the “Hartford luminary” known as “Mark Twain.” Clemens once said of Hartford that “I think this is the best-built and handsomest town I have ever seen,” and this judgment had a great deal to do with why he and his family settled here in a remarkable house located on Farmington Avenue in the fashionable Hartford neighborhood of Nook Farm. If time permits, a 20 minute DVD can also be viewed to see how this home, which the Clemens’ left in 1891, was saved from demolition and eventually became The Mark Twain House & Museum we all treasure today. 60 minutes.
Mark Twain once said that baseball was “the very symbol of the raging, tearing, booming nineteenth century,” a very apt description of the national pastime during the Gilded Age which echoes his lifelong interest in the struggle of America to achieve a “more perfect union” with regard to ethnicity, race, gender, class and the use of American power abroad. As an owner of Hartford’s own minor league baseball club, Twain was aware of how the “national game” mirrored the best and the worst traits of our national character, developing these themes most comprehensively in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. 60 minutes.
In his celebrated 1869 travel book The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain wrote that: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.” The mature Mark Twain was the most recognized American in the world, and was perhaps the best “good will ambassador” we have ever had as a nation. This 30-minute presentation surveys the far-flung journeys of Mark Twain and illustrates how a boy with a parochial and bigoted upbringing was gradually transformed into a far more enlightened and tolerant man who came to champion human rights and equality across the globe. 30 minutes.
This 45-minute activity allows middle school students to analyze and evaluate vintage photographs, period songs, regional maps, and other source readings to enhance their understanding of Chapter Four in Mark Twain’s classic, non-fictional work Life on the Mississippi, an evocative description of the heyday of steamboats on America’s greatest river system. A follow up activity allows them to expand their learning through poetry and/or song. Life on the Mississippi is specifically designed to afford visiting school groups an excellent opportunity for enrichment of their Social Studies and English classroom learning consistent with the learning objectives cited in the new Connecticut Common Core Standards.
Download a Brochure
For printed information about the many educational programs at The Mark Twain House & Museum -- or at your local library, historical society or club -- click below.
Writing at the Mark Twain House
Improve and develop your writing where Twain wrote. Our Writing at the Mark Twain House programs, launched in 2010, have created deep bonds among participants and instructors alike. Click here.