Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Meet Mallory Howard

Name. Mallory Howard

Where are you from? New Britain, CT

What school did you go to? Central Connecticut State University

What is your job at The Mark Twain House & Museum? Museum Assistant

Were you initially drawn to the Mark Twain house because of an interest in Twain as a writer? I’ve always been a huge fan of Twain’s work and had visited the house many times over the years. I actually came to the Twain house initially trying to volunteer and perhaps get an internship since I was a history major in school. I ended up falling in love with the place and never left!

How long have you been working at the Mark Twain House? It will be 4 years in January!

What is your favorite part about working at the Mark Twain House? That’s a really tough question to answer. There are so many marvelous things about working at this place since there are always fascinating people to meet, stimulating educational programs or lecture to attend, and amazing events to enjoy. However, my favorite thing about working here are the truly incredible people I get to work with. Some of us are history geeks; some are talented writers, comedians, and playwrights. No matter what our individual strong points are we all respect each other for what we bring to the table. Everyone works together to make this museum a success and I’ve never met such wonderful hard working people.

Do you like Mark Twain more having worked here? I have always been a Twainiac and a fan of the amazing pieces of literature he has produced, but my love for him has drastically increased since working here. I know him more now as Sam. I love his family, his heart, and even his temper. I feel sadness and sympathy for him during tragedy and hard times. I am elated during his triumphs. I get defensive when he is attacked and proud when he is admired. He has become a huge part of my life and I’m lucky to have him.

Do you find yourself talking to friends and family about Mark Twain? I talk about Mark Twain constantly to my friends and family. I’m sure I drive most of them absolutely nuts! I find myself running into friends and the first thing they say is. “How are you? How’s Mark Twain?” He has suddenly become an additional best friend, parent, brother that everyone asks about. I never hesitate to fill them in on the latest and greatest in the Twain world. One of the best things that happened is my Dad’s deeper interest in Twain, his literature, and American history in general. I’ve turned him into a little history geek and that makes me proud!

What is your favorite room in the house? My favorite room in the house is the library. It is absolutely beautiful and there’s something so sweet, innocent and sentimental about it. I love to imagine the family sitting together listening to Twain tell a story, or enjoying a book while looking over the Park river, maybe even watching their butler George have a jungle adventure in the conservatory with the Clemens’ girls.

If you could make one improvement to the house or museum what would it be? I would love to have the mahogany room and 3rd floor guest room restored. Though I love our beloved museum center, I wish we had more noise control!

Based on your knowledge of his personality, do you think you and Mr. Twain would be friends? I truly believe that Mark Twain and I would be the very best of friends. I adore his wit, humor, little eccentricities, brilliant mind, and sarcasm. What else could you ask for in a friend? I often wish I could have one night to hang out with him. The drinks we would have, the conversations, the stories, I would beg him to tell me! I can’t think of anyone better!

What is the museum’s biggest challenge? I think the museum’s biggest challenge is trying to get people to come explore our site during an economic recession. I also think, though we’ve done an excellent job so far, we will have to constantly come up with new and exciting programs to bring in a different audience and to keep those who have been before always coming back.

What would you think Mark Twain’s comments would be on the management of his home and the museum? I would like to think that Mark Twain would be proud of us. Everyone here works extremely hard to make sure we are keeping his legacy alive in the most inventive, educational, and often humorous ways. He would appreciate our passion, dedication, and drive to making this museum a success.

What is your favorite Mark Twain piece? My favorite Mark Twain piece is tricky. I would have to say his personal book collection. We have over 200 books owned by the Clemens family in our archives, several of which have marginalia. Twain would often times scrawl opinions, thoughts, and even grammatical changes on the pages of the books he was reading. This gives us an insightful and personal look into his mind.

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