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Celebrating American Literature and Art

The Mark Twain House & Museum and New Britain Museum of American Art

Exterior of New Britain Museum

photograph by P. Vanderwarker

On September 19th, 1876 construction on a beautifully designed house on Farmington Avenue in Hartford finally ended. The estate was by no means ordinary. Built by New York Architect Edward Tuckerman Potter and decorated by the Tiffany Company, this 19 room Victorian Gothic mansion (in which each room is inspired by a different part of the world) is complete with conservatory, billiards room, school room, nursery, servants quarters, fireplace mantel imported from a Scottish castle and Tiffany glass among other lavish and unique marvels of the Gilded Age. Samuel Clemens more commonly known as Mark Twain occupied this amazing property with his wife and children for some of the best years of his literary career, saying that this house “[was] a home -and the word never had so much meaning before.” 

mark twain house

Historic Mark Twain House; Photograph by John Groo for The Mark Twain House & Museum

Fortunately for Connecticut residents, the Mark Twain House has been fully preserved and open to the public for tours. Docents will not only guide you with funny anecdotal knowledge of Twain’s life but also will paint a vivid picture of late 19th century Hartford high society. For history buffs, Twain fans or anyone looking for an inspiring afternoon, the Mark Twain museum will more than satiate your desire for beauty, knowledge and entertainment. 

Mark Twain Museum

Exterior of the Mark Twain Museum; Photograph by John Groo for The Mark Twain House & Museum

After your visit to the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford it is definitely worth taking a trip to the New Britain Museum of American Art. New exhibits are regularly featured in addition to the permanent collection of 10,236 works of American art including 1,133 oils and acrylics, 2,710 drawings (including watercolors and pastels), 1,518 graphics, 268 sculptures, 216 photographs, and 1,782 illustrations. No matter what style, medium or period of work happens to be on display you will have a great afternoon exploring the visual creations of some of America’s best artists. Get there between 10AM -12 PM on Saturdays for free admission.

Exterior of the New Britian Museum at night; Photograph by The Defining Photo

Current Exhibits Include:

Pixelated: The Art of Digital Illustration
July 21 - Dec. 9, 2012

Nelson H. White: Scenic Spirit
July 12 - Oct. 14, 2012

The Weir Family, 1820-1920: Expanding the Traditions of American Art
June 30 - Sept. 30, 2012

Poetic Journey Continued: American Art from the Grey Collection
June 2, 2012 - September 2, 2012

New Media: Particular Heights 2.0
May 26 - Nov. 11, 2012

Museum Hours & Directions:

Mark Twain House & Museum

Monday - Saturday 9:30am to 5:30pm last tour leaves at 4:30pm    

Sunday 12:00PM to 5:30pm last tour leaves at 4:30pm

I-95 North

  • Take exit 48 to I-91 North
  • Follow until exit for I-84 West 
  • 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 (approx. 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.

New Britain Museum of American Art

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Thursday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: noon – 5 p.m.
Monday: Closed

I-95 North

  • Merge onto I-91 North via exit 48.
  • Take exit 22N onto Rte. 9.
  • Follow Rte. 9 to exit 28.
  • Follow Rte. 72W to Corbin Ave., exit 7.
  • At exit light, turn right, proceed to next light, and turn right onto West Main St.
  • One block after the third light, turn right after Bank of America onto Lexington St.
  • Museum and free parking lot are on the left
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