Securing Missouri’s most famous author’s work for another century

The hand-written manuscript of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain has returned home to its official display at the Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site after being conserved and preserved.

The original The Adventures of Tom Sawyer manuscript opened to display handwritten text displayed in a glass case.

The public is invited to attend a special ceremonial unveiling of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” on Thursday, Sept. 28, at 1 p.m. at the Mark Twain Boyhood Home State Historic Site located at 37352 Shrine Road in Florida, Missouri. The public will hear from Secretary of State John Ashcroft and members of the team who helped in the restoration process, as well as Department of Natural Resources Director Dru Buntin.

Written in 1876, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” was placed at the historic site by a special act of the Missouri State Legislature when the museum opened in 1960, and has been on display ever since. After taking some museum conservation courses, park team members at the historic site became concerned about the long-term effect that artificial lighting was having on the manuscript.

The manuscript, which had been on display since the site received it, was removed from its case and examined, and found to be in need of extensive restoration and conservation work.

The Missouri Secretary of State’s Office conservators repaired on this state treasure at no charge. Since the repairs have been finished, the manuscript has been resting in Missouri State Park’s archive room, waiting for its unveiling.

“We were fortunate enough to purchase a new display case,” said David Kelly, director of Missouri State Parks. “This new case is temperature-, light- and humidity-controlled to a much greater extent, which will help prolong the manuscript’s life.”

For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.