PGAV Destinations Designs New Exhibits for Popular Attraction at Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum
One of America’s favorite love stories, Becky Thatcher is the fictional leading love interest of Tom Sawyer, star and adventurer of American novelist Mark Twain’s (Samuel Clemens’) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Sawyer spends much of the novel attempting to woo Thatcher through a variety of artistic, acrobatic, and emotional means, eventually winning over her heart. Mark Twain has noted that the inspiration for Becky Thatcher was his real-life pursuit of Laura Hawkins, who lived across the street from Twain in what is now known as “The Becky Thatcher House.”
“For nearly a century and a half, we’ve known Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher so well, through the vivid story-craft of Mark Twain,” says PGAV Destinations VP Diane Lochner. “But the new exhibits at the Becky Thatcher House provide a wonderful opportunity to learn about the true relationship between Samuel Clemens and Laura Hawkins, Becky’s inspiration; the house itself; how the Hawkins family used it; and what life was like in 19th Century rural Missouri.”
St. Louis-based design firm PGAV Destinations was retained in 2005 to create new exhibits and to freshen and inspire the visitor experience at two of the seven buildings comprising the downtown tour of world-renown author Samuel Clemens’ early life, including the Interpretive Center, the Museum Gallery, and new Boyhood Home Gift Shop. The re-invigorated Becky Thatcher House offers a unique and personal look into social class and daily life, as guests can assume the roles of Becky Thatcher, Sawyer, Jim, and Huckleberry Finn, and appreciate how life was different in the 19th Century Midwest. Amongst new artifacts, graphics, media, and interactives, local illustrator Brenda Beck Fisher has produced custom images of Twain’s world-famous characters throughout the House.
“PGAV Destinations guided us through our challenging project and helped develop it from concept to construction documents,” said Henry Sweets, executive director of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum. “We are very pleased with the final exhibits in the Becky Thatcher House.”
With the opening of the reconstructed Huckleberry Finn House in 2007 and the restored Becky Thatcher House, Sweets and his team are looking forward to an active and expanded future for the complex. Following their master plan, the team is working toward a full restoration of the John M. Clemens Justice of the Peace Building, and the Pilaster House.
This year marks 104 years since the grand opening of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home to share these special stories and history with the public. For more information about the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, visit the museum’s website.
About PGAV Destinations
PGAV Destinations is a global leader in the planning and design of unique destinations. Now entering its sixth decade, the practice has evolved to become the ideal destination-consulting partner, skilled at developing growth-oriented master plans and translating those plans into successful projects. No other firm offers such an integrated approach to destination planning.
PGAV’s key clients include industry leaders such as Delaware North Companies, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, the Biltmore Companies, Bass Pro Shops, Ameristar Casinos, Universal Studios, The Gettysburg Foundation, the Saint Louis Zoo, and many others. Recent assignments include planning and design at many of the world’s “must see” destinations, including the Grand Canyon, Biltmore Estate, Space Shuttle Atlantis, Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, the Georgia Aquarium, the Hoover Dam, and SeaWorld Adventure Parks. www.PGAVDestinations.com
About The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum
Comprising a collection of structures from Twain’s boyhood located throughout downtown Hannibal, including the Clemens’ family residence, the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum is an entertaining experience through Samuel Clemens early years. A tour through these buildings gives visitors an opportunity to understand Twain’s early influences, and to make important literary connections to many of his best known works, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The mission of the Mark Twain Home Foundation is to promote awareness and appreciation of the life and works of Mark Twain and to demonstrate the relevance of his stories and ideas to citizens of the world. http://www.marktwainmuseum.org/