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Director Of Mark Twain House Resigns

Cindy Lovell, who has been executive director of the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford since February 2013, announced her resignation on Monday.

Lovell, a lifelong devotee of Mark Twain, came to Hartford from her position as executive director of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in Hannibal, Mo. She will be a special-projects consultant to the Twain.

In an interview Monday, Lovell, a resident of Canton, said she is moving to Edgewater, Fla., to be close to her son, grandson and many other relatives. She said she has been thinking about this since July, when her mother died.

"I love the Mark Twain House. There are a lot of good projects in the works and I will continue to help with those," Lovell said. "It's really just a matter of me wanting some family time.

"When I moved here, I had a daughter and a niece and their little ones just down the road. They've all moved away. It's made it hard to have no family here. A little voice in my ear has been wanting me to move home."

Lovell, 60, is a graduate of Stetson University in DeLand, Fla. She said she left Edgewater in 2007 to work in Hannibal and planned to retire to Edgewater eventually. "I'm just going a little earlier than I thought," she said.

Lovell said she will be leaving by the end of the week. "I wanted to go home for Christmas anyway," she said.

Joel Freedman, president of the house's board of trustees, said he has known for months that Lovell was considering going home. "It did not come as a total surprise to me," he said.

He added that Amy Gallent, an attorney and retired senior vice president of Hartford Insurance Group, will be interim director while the board looks for a replacement for Lovell. The board will begin a nationwide search for a successor immediately, he added.

Lovell succeeded Jeff Nichols, who left in 2012 to become president and CEO of Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson's plantation retreat in Virginia.

During Lovell's tenure, National Geographic named the house, where the legendary author Samuel Clemens and his family lived from 1874 to 1891, one of the 10 best historic homes in the world. Other highlights of her leadership period include a substantial renovation to the home, the unveiling of Mark Twain Commemorative Coins by the U.S. Mint, the launch of the Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award and the debut of Living History House Tours, which helped to significantly boost admissions.

Lovell said last week that October 2016 saw the highest monthly attendance on record, 9,515 people.

Editor's note: This article has been amended from a previous version to correct the statistic about October visitation.

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