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Dana-Thomas House hosting special holiday programs and evening tours

Press Release - Friday, November 17, 2023

SPRINGFIELD - The public is invited to enjoy special evening tours at the Dana-Thomas House State Historic Site in Springfield on Wednesdays and Fridays during the holiday season from Nov. 17 to Dec. 20.


Thirty-minute evening tours of the historic home will highlight more than 40 interior holiday designs and four trees decorated by the national award-winning Springfield Civic Garden Club. All tours - which start every half hour from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. - will begin at the front door along Lawrence Avenue. Reservations through Eventbrite are strongly encouraged.


Celebrating historical and cultural connections of art and architecture, the garden club has selected Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement, as the theme for the 2023 holiday floral designs. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright was significantly influenced by Japanese art and architecture. He became a devoted collector of Japanese woodblock prints early in his career, and his enthusiasm is evident in the design of the Dana-Thomas House. Furthering his interest, Wright visited Japan for the first time the year after the Dana-Thomas House was complete.


"We have dozens of volunteers who donated more than 600 hours this year to create 40 unique floral designs, including four stunning trees," site superintendent Justin Blandford said. "The Dana-Thomas House is an architectural and historical treasure, and the extraordinary effort of our volunteers truly makes the holiday experience at the site extra special for Illinois residents and our guests."


Festive Fridays begin Friday, Nov. 17 and continue Nov. 24, Dec. 1, Dec. 15, and Dec. 22 from 4-7 p.m. In addition to tours of the historic mansion, hot cocoa and s'mores will be available in the courtyard and take-home crafts will be offered for younger guests.


Dana-Thomas House Wednesday evening holiday tours begin Nov. 22 and continue Nov. 29, Dec. 6, Dec. 13, and Dec. 20 from 4-7 p.m.


Art Glass at Night, a specialty tour, will be offered on two Saturdays - Dec. 2 and Dec. 9 at 5:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. And on Dec. 17, a special artifact-based program, "Treasures: Wright and Japan," will take place at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.


Reservations, which are strongly encouraged because of capacity limits on tours, can be made through the State Historic Sites Springfield website or by calling the Dana-Thomas House at 217-782-6776. All tours are free, and donations in support of local historic sites are welcome.


Built between 1902 and 1904, the Dana-Thomas House is perhaps the best preserved of Wright's prairie style homes, with more than 400 pieces of specially made art glass and original furnishings. The site, which is managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23; on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24; on Christmas Day, Dec. 25; on New Year's Eve, Dec. 31; and on New Year's Day, Jan. 1.

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