The Becky Thatcher House in Hannibal, closed for renovations since 2008, celebrated its reopening on Saturday, June 29.

David Mobley of the Mark Twain Home Foundation greeted the crowd for the noon ribbon cutting celebration. "This day's been long in coming and it's nice to see everyone here who's proud for what's been accomplished. Part of the mission of the Mark Twain Home Foundation is to preserve the legacy of Samuel Clemens and that's accomplished both in preserving and maintaining the properties that are here in Hannibal, but it's also, in an educational sense, preserving his legacy through his writings. We hope that this restoration will serve both purposes."

"We are excited to once again have the Becky Thatcher House open to the public," Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum executive director Henry Sweets said. "This will help us provide additional interpretation on Hannibal's history in the 1840s and 1850s."

Sweets explained the significance of the Becky Thatcher House in Hannibal. "In 'Tom Sawyer' poor Tom falls head over heels for Becky, and Mark Twain later identified the little girl that lived in this house, Laura Hawkins, as the model for Becky Thatcher. We have the two homes right across the street from each other and we're so glad to get them both open again to the public."

The house currently contains temporary exhibits, including the story of the real-life Becky, Laura Hawkins, a retrospective of the Tom and Becky Program, a photographic exhibit of the museum's 100th anniversary and items from the museum's extensive collection until funds can be raised for the fabrication and installation of the permanent exhibits.

"We're thrilled to add even more exhibits and another building to the museum experience for our visitors," marketing manager Brenna McDermott said. "And we hope that our local supporters will bring their families down and see what's new at the Becky Thatcher House, too."

The Becky Thatcher House will be included in the museum tour. Visitors purchase one ticket and can also see the Museum Gallery, Interpretive Center, Huckleberry Finn Home, Mark Twain Boyhood Home and the J.M. Clemens Justice of the Peace office. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum offers free admission to its properties to residents of Hannibal.

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