THE MARK TWAIN HOUSE – New Museum Center

Hartford, CT


35,000 sf


Robert A.M. Stern Architects

Dimeo’s role as Construction Manager for the new Museum Center for the Mark Twain House included construction of a mixed-use space featuring exhibit spaces, a 176-seat Lecture Hall, classrooms, reading room, collections workrooms and storage space. A 75-seat cafe with outdoor terrace and a Museum Store add to the visitor’s amenities. The new building echoes the shapes of the historic structures on the property with an exterior of brick, sandstone and fieldstone, and consists of three floors: one below ground and two above ground. Climate-controlled storage space was created for the museum’s collections of books, manuscripts, photographs, etc. Visitors will also be able to view an orientation film by documentary film maker Ken Burns.

The Mark Twain project accomplished the Silver Certification in the LEED program; it is the first building in Connecticut and the first museum in the country to achieve this status.

When the new Museum Center opened in 2003, on the grounds of Mark Twain’s restored Hartford home, it became the first museum in the nation to achieve LEED certification, and the first building (of any kind) in Connecticut to become LEED Certified. Built into the side of a hill, a significant amount of the building’s footprint is actually below ground, creating significant reductions in heat gain and loss from the building envelope. Geothermal wells, rather than fossil fuels, as the predominant heating and cooling source are combined with a closed-loop system that eliminates the water lost to evaporation through the cooling tower in a conventional system. Building materials were locally sourced to reduce transportation energy costs, wood products were from FSC certified sources that confirm renewable and responsible forestry practices, and materials were selected that minimize or eliminate “off-gassing”.

The Mark Twain House

New Museum Center

“The building is such a success in large part because of your great work, attention to detail, commitment to the job and obvious pride in it.”

John Boyer
Executive Director, Mark Twain House