Twain House Forges Ahead With Series of Fund-raisers


Faced with financial woes that have threatened to close its doors, the Mark Twain House and Museum has planned a series of fund-raising events aimed at saving the historic site in Hartford, Connecticut. Contributions made by public and private donors during the summer, when the museum's budgetary troubles reached a crescendo, bought the museum a few months to pursue other means of managing the debt and rising operating costs that put it at risk for foreclosure.

Last Tuesday eleven writers came together to read works by Mark Twain at the museum at an event organized by Jon Clinch, a Vermont author who wrote Finn (Random House, 200&), a well-received prequel to Huckleberry Finn. Clinch invited fellow authors Arthur Philips, Philip Beard, Amy MacKinnon, Jon Clinch, David Gates, Tasha Alexander, Robert Hicks, Tom Perrotta, Phillip Lopate, Kristy Kiernan, and Stewart O'Nan to participate in the reading, which was held in the auditorium adjacent to Twain's historic home.

"The dirty little secret of every writer who’ll be reading there is that it’s a chance to read better material than we usually get to read," Clinch told the New York Times before the event. "It’s also a nice chance for us to put our oars in the same water."

On Friday, the museum will host another fund-raiser: Tapping Into Twain, an evening of specialty beers, local fare, and an auction held at the five-year-old visitor center, which, along with the auditorium, is the primary source of the museum's debt. More information about the Oktoberfest-inspired event is available on the museum Web site.