April 2010

“A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”
– Mark Twain

April 21, 2010 marks the Centennial of Mark Twain’s passing and provides the residents of Connecticut with a great opportunity to showcase and celebrate Twain’s life in Connecticut and encourage a re-awakening of interest in Twain related research and tourism here in Connecticut.

For the past year, we have been uncovering Connecticut towns/cities connected with Mark Twain to celebrate his life and promote future tourism in Connecticut.

Our project involves online and offline exhibits designed to increase awareness of Mark Twain’s time in Connecticut by showcasing the people and places connected to him across the State. This project is timed to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of his passing in 2010.

Project Prototype. We’re using Illinois’ Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition as prototype, especially in the brochure aspect of the project.

To-date, one town – Norwalk, Connecticut – has embraced the concept and showcased their local connection with Mark Twain…I cannot tell you how thrilled I am about that and hope that the trend continues across the State.

The specific problem our offline Twain Connections exhibits address is the dismal funding environment our local libraries, museums, and historical societies are facing in the current economic downturn. Connecticut has allotted $1 for state tourism marketing in 2010. Our offline exhibits provide a means for Connecticut’s libraries, museums, and historical societies to not only increase foot traffic to their buildings, via this historic Twain Centennial, but to also showcase their own offerings and talents to an audience they may otherwise have missed. This is important as the ultimate goal of this project is to make Connecticut a destination for Mark Twain tourism and research in the future. We feel that merging information about Twain with information about the “Friends of Twain” in the many towns and cities that have a Twain Connection is a great way to promote town pride and Connecticut tourism in the future.

Bridgeport’s P.T. Barnum Museum would be a perfect example of a museum that would benefit from this “friends of Twain” marketing concept, another is Keeler Tavern in Ridgefield. In the present day people visit Keeler Tavern to learn about a colonial tavern. We hope in the future they’ll visit to learn more about Architect Cass Gilbert and his friendship with Mark Twain. By simply collaborating with us to provide the public with a location specific exhibit that sheds light not only on Twain but their local individual as well, these historic and cultural museums/centers can expand their audience and attract future visitors.

To date we have made connections in 56 towns here in Connecticut.

Full story about our efforts are posted here: http://www.marktwainlibrary.org/centennial/


Sunset Hill in the 1910's

Luttgen House and Gardens

Huntington Park Pond

Huntington Park Pond

Dam construction

Yep…you guessed it. This is what Huntington State Park used to look like, even before the Huntington’s owned it.