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Our Mission

As stewards, Taliesin Preservation’s mission is to preserve the cultural, built, and natural environments that comprise the Taliesin property and to conduct public educational and cultural programming that provides a greater understanding of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture and ideas.

Inspiring Beautiful Lives

We fulfill our mission by gathering and questioning information, learning and teaching new ideas, experimenting and innovating, and providing ongoing historic preservation resources for Taliesin’s buildings and natural and cultural landscapes. Taliesin Preservation offers a range of immersive opportunities that promote a deeper understanding of organic living and the intersection of nature, culture, and the built environment. Our programming helps participants strengthen their social connections, increases their knowledge to think critically about their environments, and equips them with tools to foster positive change.

Founding

Taliesin Preservation is a non-profit organization established in 1993 (previously the Taliesin Preservation Commission) by Governor Tommy Thompson through an agreement with the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) and the property owners, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

Upon its founding, and with an $8 million loan from WHEDA, the organization set out to achieve the following objectives: 1) To purchase the Riverview Terrace to create a Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center; 2) To develop a tour program, gift shop, and cafe to open the Taliesin estate to the public; 3) To use funds from public programming to support the preservation of the Taliesin estate; and 4) To provide ongoing preservation resources to support preservation work. 

Investing in Taliesin

In 1993, Taliesin Preservation began offering formal tours of the estate. Since then, Taliesin Preservation has invested over $12M into the preservation of the Taliesin estate and led the way to remove it from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Most Endangered Historic Places List (2011). In 2012, Taliesin Preservation repaid $6M of their initial $8M loan to WHEDA, and the parties agreed the remaining $2M be reinvested into the estate and forgiven.

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Current work on the natural landscape is largely informed by aerial photographs from 1955, in an effort to preserve the lands as it was in 1959 when Frank Lloyd Wright passed. Preservationists are restoring the pre-settlement fire-dependent oaks, hickories, grasses, and wildflowers surrounding Taliesin within the 1955 boundaries.

Preservation at Taliesin

All preservation work is done in conjunction with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, the owners of the Taliesin estate.

The construction and conception of Taliesin are unique and require a unique approach to preservation. Taliesin served as a 1:1 scale model for Wright to explore design concepts, structural assemblies, and materials. We strive to restore the historic core of Taliesin to the decade of 1950-59, the last years of Wright’s lifetime.

 

Many of the projects the preservation team undertakes involve unraveling layers of historical material, providing evidence of earlier iterations of Taliesin. Throughout this process, drawings and documentation are used to make decisions and record the techniques and materials used to restore the buildings on the Taliesin estate.

The agricultural fields are certified organic; our landscape department maintains the gardens and landscapes in and around Taliesin. In the garden, orchard, and vineyard, we look at old photos and replant the same types of plants and trees in the same or similar locations as they were in the 1950s.

Taliesin Preservation works continuously to upgrade these systems which will allow for expanded and continued use and enjoyment of the spaces with tours, special events, and programs.

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Restoration of the spire at Midway Barn

Major Projects Completed

2018 – Taliesin Residence Wing Mechanical, Plumbing, and Electric
2018 – Taliesin Guest Wing Comprehensive Restoration
2017 – Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center Mechanical Upgrades
2017 – Tan-y-Deri Comprehensive Restoration
2015 – Taliesin Loggia & Loggia Terrace Restoration
2010 – Mrs. Wright’s Bedroom Restoration
2009 – Midway Structural Stabilization
2006 – Taliesin Entry Bridge Structural Stabilization

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Damage to Wright's Drafting Studio from a fallen oak tree

2004 – Taliesin Save America’s Treasures Slope Stabilization & Drainage Remediation
2001 – Wright’s Drafting Studio Restoration and Repair from the Tea Circle Oak
1998 – Restoration of the Hill Wing apartment
1996 – Hillside Drafting Studio Foundation
1993 – Wright’s Bedroom Terrace Restoration
1992 – Romeo & Juliet Reconstruction