Capitalizing on History — Mark Twain and Walt Disney Boyhood Homes

Written on October 20, 2009 at 10:23 am, by Lain Shakespeare

Mark Twain Boyhood Home

Keith Eggener of Design Observer gives us this thoughtful post on capitalizing on the historic homes of the famous, focusing on the Missouri homes of Mark Twain and Walt Disney —

“People go to Hannibal to walk the streets where the real children who inspired Huck and Becky walked; they go there ready to believe that an otherwise unexceptional white wood fence is the one Tom painted, or, at least, the one that inspired Twain to invent his story. Disney’s stories, on the other hand, are pure fantasy….”

Items discussed: history’s exploitation vs. its preservation, marketing dead public figures vs. live ones, how the Mark Twain Boyhood Home is like a snow globe.

Items not discussed: how Walt Disney’s recreated boyhood home — called “The Happy Place” — is not all so different from the story, “Brother Rabbit’s Laughing-Place.” Coincidence?

Last Thanksgiving I had the opportunity visit several great historic homes in Missouri (1, 2, 3, 4) on a

house museum road trip.  I’m sorry I missed these two, especially given their unique relationships with Joel Chandler Harris (Twain, Disney).

Photo: Keith Eggener

6 Comments to Capitalizing on History — Mark Twain and Walt Disney Boyhood Homes

  1. Joe says:

    Which house is the one that is facing major financial hardship because of some ginormous expense? Was that Mark Twain’s?

  2. Joe says:

    Geez… Plus the blog is totally lame compared to yours.

  3. Jeff Nichols says:

    Why yes, The Mark Twain House in Hartford had its share of financial woes, but I am happy to report that they are behind us. The Museum Center was a “ginormous” expense, that’s for sure. However, we are now focused on what we should be concerned with – promoting Mark Twain’s amazing legacy.

  4. Lain says:

    That’s tremendous news, Jeff. Thanks for the update!

  5. Joe says:

    Jeff, perhaps you have some helpful tips for Lain, in terms of fundraising.

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