HANNIBAL | The first visitors arriving Monday, May 18, at the re-opening of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum were celebrating their birthdays. The Rochester, Minn., couple reported they are not the same age but share the same birthday.
Sarah Fletcher, sales clerk at the gift shop at the M.T. Boyhood Home, was among the people who met the couple. Fletcher explained the museum employees are wearing masks and serving people from behind plexiglass partitions.
In mid-afternoon, Melissa Cummins, marketing and community relations manager, reported the museum properties had light but steady traffic all day. This was the first day Grant's Drug Store was open, since its restoration, Cummins said. “We are really excited to have it open.”
James Lundgren, executive director of the museum, also encouraged people to visit Grant's Drug Store. “There are things in the drug store that very few people have seen.”
Visitors will learn about the drug store's connection to Sam Clemens' family, Lundgren said. The Clemens family was taken in by the Grants and lived there. Visitors can learn about “the impact that had on Sam Clemens as he began writing his stories.”
The drug store also has information about the cholera epidemic in the 1800s, he said, which traveled through Europe before arriving in the United States.
The museum properties are open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the regular winter hours, Lundgren said.
“We will monitor the situation,” he said, to decide when there is enough museum traffic to expand to summer hours.
The museum's Music Under the Stars weekly free concerts have all been scheduled, beginning June 4, Lundgren said. However, no decision has been made about whether it will be advisable to host them. If some are delayed, he said, they could possibly be rescheduled later in the year.
All Hannibal residents are offered free admission to the museum properties, Lundgren said, along with both active and retired military personnel and their families.
For others, museum admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors age 60 and over, $6 for students ages 6 to 17, and free for children age 5 and under.
Among the museum's visitors was Deb Whitehill of Rolla, Mo., who said she was “pleasantly surprised” to learn the museum was open Monday. At the Mark Twain Museum Gallery Book Shop she was selecting magnets with Mark Twain quotes, including, “Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been,” and “Travel is fatal to prejudice and narrow-mindedness.” She was also buying postcards from gift shop clerk Vicki McLain on McLain's first day on the job.