I Found a Clue at the Mark Twain House

Hello readers, Katy Lee here. Two weeks ago I broached the topic with you all about requiring my children to read a few classics over the summer. (Read Here for that post.) I want to thank all who chimed in here and on Facebook and Twitter with your ideas and opinions. I considered each comment carefully, and decided to look for outings that might spark my childrens’ interest in certain books.

I chose authors’ homes nearby first, and was thrilled to hear about an event going on at the Mark Twain House on Friday the 13th.


It was called ‘Get A Clue’ Tour: A Live-Action Mystery Adventure where someone has killed “Pap” Finn! 

Was it Tom Sawyer in the Library with the Wrench?  Could it be the Connecticut Yankee in the Billiard Room with the Knife? Or was it the Pauper in the Kitchen with the Rope? 

That’s right! A real live-action CLUE game with a full-fledged murder mystery laid out for visitors to solve while exploring the old Victorian home in the dark of night.

I’ll admit I was a bit excited myself.

I challenge my kids to use their deductive reasoning and detective skills to solve the crime while meeting countless characters from all of Mark Twain’s books. Major characters and secondary ones, too, came to life in face-to-face encounters along our exploration of beautiful ornate rooms and secret passageways.

And the outcome?????

From the moment we left, my backseat was a chatter-filled cabin of who is Arkansas, and is he really that scary? Or how about Becky Thatcher? She seemed nice, but the way she swung that pipe around makes me wonder.  And I had no idea the Prince and The Pauper came from Mark Twain and not Disney and Barbie … is it any different than the cartoons?

My answer to all questions???

You’ll just have to read it to find out.

The Unlocked Secret: It really didn’t take much to spark their interest, but making it real to them was the key, for sure. The Mark Twain House did an amazing job in helping me get creative. Even if future places don’t have something as brilliant as a live-action CLUE game, there might be something like it, or I’ll just have to design my own scavenger hunt of sorts. Could you imagine hunting through The House of Seven Gables? Ooh, spooky!

Question: Where shall we go next?


10 thoughts on “I Found a Clue at the Mark Twain House”

  1. Where did my comment go? Cyberspace. Ok, I will comment again. No kidding, the Prince and the Pauper was Mark Twain’s doing? Did your kids use their deduction skills? Did they solve the mystery. What was the mystery? Did they have fun?

    1. Yes, they did, on all accounts. It was actually my son who was the most vocal in asking the questions. Even Huck Finn said J was the best detective of the group.

  2. Katy, we went to this last night and it was so much fun! It was my first visit to the Mark Twain House (I’m almost ashamed to say that, considering how long I’ve lived in Connecticut). I definitely want to go back when I can spend more time — my only complaint about the tour was that it felt kind of rushed and I didn’t get to really look around or see any of the exhibits afterward. That is one gorgeous place. If you go the House of the 7 Gables and design a clue tour there, count me in! That is one of my favorite books, and one of my favorite tourist attractions. I’ve also been wanting to go out to Arrowhead, Herman Melville’s place in PIttsfield. http://berkshirehistory.org/herman-melville/herman-melville-and-arrowhead/. Did you solve the mystery last night? Our group only figured out the murderer, not the weapon (narrowed it down to 2) or the room.

  3. Once upon a time when my son was young and in the boy scouts, I planned a trip to our local museum. I went down before the scheduled date and took a walk through the facility. I made up a list of items situated in different exhibits and made copies of the list. On the day of the museum trip, I handed the list out to my boys and sent them on a well organized scavanger hunt. It was fun.

  4. I’m so glad you went, Katy. I wanted to go so badly, but other things came up as they often do. I bet the kids had a blast. Kudos to you for following through and solving the problem of getting kids excited about literature. I love Gerri’s idea of scoping out museums and setting up your own scavenger hunt or mystery to solve.

    I’ve been to a few events at the Mark Twain House and they have done a fabulous job with programming. I went to a writer’s workshop not long ago and it was very well done. I’m so happy to see them doing so much with the place. I’m sure it would make Samuel Clemens very proud.

    1. My kids were excited to learn that he homeschooled his children. They even had their own schoolroom in the house, which my daughter wanted to know why we don’t.

  5. If you’re kids liked that you might want to check out Watson Adventures. They do scavenger hunts on a large scale in musuems and all around NYC. My friends and I did one at the MET. It was super hard but they do have kid friendly ones. It was really a lot of fun and I learned something!

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