Right Under Our Noses
Hannibal is home to one of the great tourist attractions.
Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum records indicate they’ve had over eight million visitors over the last 100 years. Visitors hail from literally the entire world. I get the feeling that my experiences aren't unusual for area residents. My first visit was during my elementary school days while growing up in Quincy. We hit the basics of the museum and the Mark Twain Cave. That cave made quite an impression on me, in part because it wasn’t long after the boys went missing in a Hannibal area cave in the late 1960’s.
I suspect that I’m like a lot of area residents and like people who live near notable attractions anywhere in the world. We get to places like the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum and the cave only when we have out of town visitors. We had an exchange student from Germany stay with us while I was in high school. He got the grand tour including Hannibal, Springfield and St. Louis. Last summer, my new brother in law and niece were in for their first visit and we spent a hot, humid day making the rounds in Hannibal.
I hadn’t seen the entire museum complex as visitors do for over 30 years until last summer and I was impressed even though I had seen virtually everything on display over the years while covering various news stories. It was very enjoyable to take everything in as intended. I’m not waiting nearly that long to go through again.
The restoration projects and other work in recent years really adds to what I remember from my school age days. Henry Sweets, his predecessors and everyone with the museum has gotten it right.