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Mizzou Students Re-Clothe Mark Twain

TAM faculty and students recreate the look of Mark Twain and his characters for an exhibition

March 11th, 2010

Story Contact: Nathan Hurst, 573-882-6217,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – In his work, Mark Twain represented everyday life in Missouri in the pre-civil war era. Now, faculty and students from the Department of Textile and Apparel Management want to recreate that slice of life through their clothes.

With the help of her students, Laurel Wilson, textile and apparel management professor in the College of Human Environmental Sciences and curator of the Missouri Historic Costume and Textile Collection, has put together a series of completed costumes to illustrate the times of native Missourians Mark Twain and artist Thomas Hart Benton. The costumes will be displayed at an exhibit with the State Historical Society of Missouri.

The State Historical Society of Missouri is hosting an exhibit from March 13 to August 20, “Mark Twain and Thomas Hart Benton: Pictures, Prose and Song.” At the center of the exhibit will be Benton’s limited edition illustrations for Twain’s classics The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Life on the Mississippi where Benton reflects the character of the time period in the books.

“The exhibition of costumes is meant to reflect the era in which Mark Twain lived and wrote as well as how Benton interpreted clothing in his artistic work,” Wilson said.

The exhibition will include a suit in a style that Mark Twain might have worn, a pair of overalls that a boy like Tom Sawyer would have worn, a civil war era uniform and other clothes that reflect the time period.

The Missouri Historic Costume and Textile Collection serves as a resource for students, faculty and outside researchers to view the daily lives of people from the past by observing their clothing. The collection houses more than 5,500 items of clothing ranging from the 16th century to the modern day.

For more information on the State Historical Society of Missouri exhibit on the works of Twain and Benton visit