A Sneak Peek of the Renovated Becky Thatcher House, Reopening to the Public on Saturday [Photo Gallery + Audio]
After being closed for several years, the Becky Thatcher House in Hannibal will reopen to the public on Saturday, June 29.
"We've had the house closed for about four years as we were going through the full restoration of the home," said Henry Sweets, curator of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, "literally beginning with the foundations all the way up to the roof."
Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum marketing and community relations manager Brenna McDermott says that visitors to the Becky Thatcher House will be amazed at the improvements to the home, "We've had people come in and they're pretty astounded at the difference between 2008 and today."
Sweets said that the Becky Thatcher House restoration is part of a long-term plan for improving all of the museum properties in Hannibal. "We had developed a master plan about ten years ago and we wanted to apply that to all of our buildings, and we started that with our interpretive center in the Boyhood Home, and this was the next building to approach."
Several exhibits will be on display starting Saturday. Some are temporary, but permanent exhibits are being planned, according to McDermott. "Everything in here is new to this house. However, our exhibits now are temporary, and the next stage of the plan is to raise the money to fabricate and install the permanent exhibits which will talk about childhood in the 1840s and 1850s...you'll learn about those things through the eyes of four of Twain's characters: Tom, Becky, Huck and Jim."
Some exhibits that will be on display at the house beginning on Saturday include several items that belonged to Laura Hawkins, Mark Twain's inspiration for the character Becky Thatcher; and '100 Years of Memories: the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum 1912 - 2012,' which was on display - but only for a brief time - at the museum last year.
Of particular interest for residents of Hannibal will be the Tom and Becky room, which will feature photographs of many of Hannibal's official Tom and Becky Ambassadors throughout the years, along with Tom and Becky costumes.
"We're going to have a very exciting day on Saturday," said McDermott, "noon ribbon cutting with just a short ceremony and our own Becky will be cutting the ribbon." Giveaways, raffles, free food, performances and a guided tour focusing on the history of Laura Hawkins will be presented by Henry Sweets at 2:30.
Tours of the Becky Thatcher House will be free during Saturday's grand reopening. After that, the tour will be added to the existing ticket package for access to Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum sites. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum always offers residents of Hannibal free admission to its properties.