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Museum board taps Rapp as new director

Megan Rapp began her new job as executive director of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum on May 1. Contributed photo.



As Megan Rapp, newly named executive director of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, looks out upon Main Street from her second-story office window, it’s hard to miss the irony that the same author that the museum pays homage to, once played upon this same street.


It was a different time then, of course, when Sam Clemens was a boy. Cattle walked along Main Street en route to the steamboats docked on the river’s edge, waiting to transport them to market. Dirt on the street, rather than pavement, was muddy in wet seasons and dusty during a drought. And horse power was literal, horses tied to posts to keep them from going astray while their owners shopped for provisions, or partook in liquid refreshments.


But this historic knowledge is second nature to Rapp, who has spent much of her adult life promoting the rich past Hannibal - and its most famous author - have to offer.


Her first job as teen was that of waitress at the Mark Twain Dinette, then came studies at Culver-Stockton College. Post undergrad, she earned a master’s degree in Museum Studies from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.


While she was in graduate school, “I worked on exhibits for the (Mark Twain) museum,” she said.  “I worked on the exhibits that are still in the Interpretive Center.


She was ultimately hired by the museum as manager of marketing and community relations. In that capacity, “my office was in the Interpretive Center, among the exhibits that I helped research and create,” she said.


She left the museum, after four years, in order to accept the job of assistant director, and later director, of tourism for the City of Hannibal.


“That allowed me to promote not only the museum, but all the wonderful things that Hannibal has to offer.”


Last summer she stepped down from that post, and accepted  the role of Creative Marketing Director for a company in the health care field.


Now, as the summer tourism season launches, her new job brings her full circle, back to the museum and the promotion of Hannibal.


“I worked with Hannibal long before I worked for Hannibal,” she said. “I’ve been promoting and learning about Mark Twain and Hannibal for well over 20 years.”


In her new capacity with the museum, “I’m really excited to be able to once again tell the story of Mark Twain’s relevance. There’s a reason you see Mark Twain quotes in stories and online. He said it himself, he was a moralist in disguise. It came from a place of very deep wisdom and insight into the human mind. The insights he had about people are still spot on. I’m very excited to be able to continue, and play a role in supporting the museum’s mission.”


She looks forward to the opportunity to promote Mark Twain by utilizing the latest in technological advances.


“Honestly, Mark Twain would have loved the digital age,” she said. “He was a master at self promotion. He was really the first international superstar. Everyone knew him.”


By utilizing technology, “We can easily reach world-wide audiences, niche markets. You can gather communities of like-minded people, and more effectively target your advertising. You don’t have to be local. You can be from anywhere in the world and enjoy Mark Twain and support the work we’re doing to preserve his legacy and tell his story.


“I’ve had a long history with Mark Twain, and I look forward to continuing that. It is amazing to be back on Main Street and see the visitors. It is wonderful.”


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