Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tom Sawyer with a Revolver? Twain House Has Live 'Clue' Game

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tom Sawyer with a Revolver? Twain House Has Live 'Clue' Game

Article excerpt

HARTFORD, Conn. - Was it Tom Sawyer in Samuel Clemens' billiard room with a revolver?

Visitors to the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford can now tour the author's mansion while playing a live-action version of the board game "Clue."

The idea came up in a museum staff meeting about five years ago, when someone mentioned the house has many of the same rooms as the game including a conservatory. The Twain House teamed up with an improvisational theater troupe, Sea Tea, which stations actors around the historical home playing Mark Twain characters and house staffers. Guests try to answer the traditional three-part question to solve the mystery of who just murdered Huck Finn's father, Pap Finn.

It is among a growing number of museums, especially historical homes, that offer novelty tours to help generate repeat visits, said Dan Yaeger, executive director of the New England Museum Association.

He said: "One of the issues these houses is face is that once you visit and have seen it, what is your incentive to come back?"

The Twain House is where the author lived while writing American classics such as "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court." It began offering the Clue mystery tours on one day a year, then quarterly and this year has expanded it to every month.

Each character has two pieces of information that can each eliminate some aspect of the crime. Guests are given a clipboard with a sheet to cross off the suspects, rooms and weapons as they are guided through the house.

During one recent tour a visitor asked the character Muff Potter, the drunk from "Tom Sawyer," if it could have been Aunt Polly in the library with a rope?

"Well, I don't remember much, 'cause I may have been drinking," said Potter, as portrayed by actor Allan Smith. …

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