Formed in 1979, the Thomas Center Associates adopted as its mission our support for the Thomas Center for the Arts in both education and beautification. Of particular interest are restorations of the Period Rooms, interpretive programs and our guided tours for Alachua County third grade students, Friends and Family tours, the Jingle Bell Ball and other Yuletide activities, as well as our on-going landscaping of the gardens.
We welcome you to participate in the good work this organization has been doing for our community.
Following Our Mission
Our all-volunteer group, guided by our Board selected each year, pursues goals that are being realized in many ways, such as developing interpretive programs designed to attract visitors to the Thomas Center and acquaint them in ways both enlightening and entertaining, to the significance of this building. Its history, the story of the Thomas family who built it and the eras in which it flourished in its various incarnations as private home, resort hotel, junior college and cultural center are featured. Remarkable enough, this very special building worked beautifully in each of these roles. | BACK TO TOP
Among these programs are the 1920’s Period Rooms, two of which were begun by the Junior League as early as 1975, with stewardship being transferred to the Thomas Center Associates in 1983 to complete and expand. The Parlour/Lounge, Major Thomas’ Bedroom and his Office are the only actual museum rooms designated solely for viewing, while the Reception Room/Lobby, the Lucille T. Maloney Conference Room, and the Sam Gowan History Room are designed to function also as much-used public spaces. All reflect Hotel Thomas decor, as this was the period to which the buildings were returned in the renovation. | BACK TO TOP
Another strong project developed, executed and funded by the Associates is a guided tours program for both children and adults. Every third grade class in Alachua County is invited each year to visit the Thomas Center and the surrounding historic neighborhood. A costumed professional docent, a film, maps, games, and funding for buses to transport the children are all provided by the Thomas Center Associates.
In addition to the third grade tours, the Associates offer free docent led tours during Friends and Family tours as well as docent-led tours for adult groups. The Associates provide informational brochures and floor plans for drop-in visitors to use, and have developed a number of displays to make it possible to learn about a building, a family and an era even without a guide. For information on our Cell Phone tours, click here. | BACK TO TOP
Our involvement in the Thomas Center Garden is on-going, as we are working on a major exterior redo even as we continue fundraising to do even more. Expect our elegant building and its lovely landscaped grounds to be more beautiful than ever as the work continues. | BACK TO TOP
Also important are the various community and social events produced by the Associates throughout the year to bring people to the Thomas Center and the Historic District who might not otherwise have occasion to discover these community treasures. Such activities include lavishly decorating the Center for the holidays and the annual Jingle Bell Ball, an elegant dinner dance. | BACK TO TOP
Thomas Center Associates publish a newsletter annually. The most recent can be read here.