Hoosier painter T.C. Steele and his wife Selma built their home in 1907 amongst rolling hills, scenic vistas and majestic trees in Brown County, Indiana. Now known as T.C. Steele State Historic Site, you can visit the house and grounds that inspired the noted Indiana artist’s beautiful impressionist paintings.
Activities to enjoy:
4220 T.C. Steele Road
Nashville, IN 47448
Once you turn left on T.C. Steele Road in Nashville, you’ll see T.C. Steele State Historic Site on your right, about 1.5 miles up the road. Free parking is available on the site grounds, including spaces for buses and RVs.
Tuesday – Sunday
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
T.C. Steele is closed Mondays, with the exception of Monday holidays, including Memorial Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day. It is open Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Presidents Day, but closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.
Guided building tours are scheduled every hour at quarter past the hour. Guided tours are available for The House of the Singing Winds and the Large Studio, where changing exhibits display paintings done throughout Steele's life. The first tour begins at 10:15 a.m. The last tour begins at 4:15 p.m. Contact the site to schedule a special tour for your group. Special staff-guided tours of the beautiful grounds and gardens can be scheduled for a small additional charge.
Members of the Friends of T.C. Steele also receive free admission and a 10 percent discount in the gift shop.
For groups of 15 or more, adult tickets are $9, senior tickets are $7 and youth tickets are $4.
Special discounts are available for educators and education groups, military, Access Pass holders and more. View all discounts >>
Become a member and receive free unlimited admission to T.C. Steele State Historic Site and all 12 statewide locations of the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites. Members also receive 10 percent discount in the gift shop and free admission to more than 300 museum and science centers worldwide. Learn more about membership options.
Field trip admission is free for pre-scheduled, accredited schools and homeschool groups of 10 or more Indiana K-12 students. Call 812.988.2785 to schedule your visit.
Academic topics covered include visual arts, early 20th-century culture, natural history, science and language arts.
Learn more about field trip and school program offerings in the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites PreK-12 Education Program Guide. View guide >>
T.C. Steele K-12 programming is supported by:
We hope to see you at our upcoming events. Visit our calendar for a list of events happening at all 12 Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites locations.
Saturday, September 21, 2019
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Smithsonian Museum Day
Explore all 12 locations of the Indiana State M...
Sunday, September 29, 2019
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Hoosier Folk: When City Dwellers Discovered Rural Brown County
Discuss why cities are perceived as holding our c...
Saturday, October 12, 2019
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Enjoy an evening of magic, hors d’oeuvres a...
Sunday, December 8, 2019
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Steele’s Country Christmas
Visit with St. Nicholas and Belsnickel in T.C. St...
Consider hosting your special event at T.C. Steele State Historic Site. Learn about available spaces and event details in our Planning Guide. Please fill out our inquiry form to receive information.
If you are a photographer looking to book a shoot at T.C. Steele State Historic Site, please review our commercial photography policy and application process. Learn more >>
Theodore Clement “T.C.” Steele (1847-1926), noted Indiana artist and member of the Hoosier Group of American regional impressionist painters, was inspired by the picturesque scenes that he encountered in Brown County. T.C. was at the forefront of the state's art movement and remains one of Indiana's most honored artists.
In 1907, T.C. and his second wife, Selma Neubacher Steele, purchased property in Brown County and began construction of their home, which they named the House of the Singing Winds. They built the Large Studio in 1916 to accommodate T.C.’s work. Selma created several acres of gardens around the home and landscaped the surrounding hillsides to enhance the beauty of their property.
As T.C.’s popularity grew, an increasing number of visitors came to Brown County to meet the artist and to see his work and estate. Steele’s appreciation of nature, combined with his intelligence and capacity for concentrated study, raised his works to an extraordinary level.
THE HOUSE OF THE SINGING WINDS
The home that the Steeles built in 1907 and expanded in 1908 featured high ceilings and screened porches, in contrast to the simple log homes of the area. Selma decorated the home with an eclectic mix of furnishings, arts and crafts.
The home’s vernacular architecture features a pyramidal roof with a central fireplace. The Steeles’ friend and artist Gustave Baumann engraved the words, “Every morning I take off my hat to the beauty of the world,” below the mantel.
Today, you can experience the home much like T.C.’s and Selma’s visitors did when the couple lived there. Pause on the porch to appreciate the spectacular views before venturing inside the home to hear music from that time. See scrapbooks that Selma kept for gardening, and explore a transformed kitchen featuring some of Selma’s stencil art.
SINGING WINDS VISITOR CENTER
All tours of T.C. Steele State Historic Site begin at the Singing Winds Visitor Center, which houses classroom space, restrooms, a gift shop and other amenities. The building itself was designed with inspiration from the Steele’s large duplex guest cottage that once stood on the same ground. A limestone monolith wall gives nod to two original limestone chimneys, and a back wall filled with windows mimics the screened back porch of the original cottage that Selma referred to as “Cottage Waldesheim.” In fact, two carved stone pieces that are displayed in the visitor center were chiseled from the original cottage’s foundation blocks, and some of the woodwork was sawn from a notable oak tree featured in several of T.C.’s paintings.
Prior to living on their Brown County property, Steele used a horse-drawn wagon as a studio to travel around the state to paint. His family accompanied him on these journeys, and his daughter Daisy described the wagon as a "gypsy wagon." T.C. brought this wagon with him to his Brown County home, but it eventually was destroyed in a barn fire in 1913. A modern version of this wagon and outdoor studio space has been recreated using verbal and newspaper descriptions. Visitors can tour this handicapped-accessible area, create sketches of the surroundings, work “en plein air” (or outdoors) as T.C. did, and play games while discovering more about his art and life.
When not traveling, T.C. used what is now the living room of his home as studio space. In 1908, the Steeles added the west wing, which served as his studio for seven years. They then built what they called the "Little Studio," which he used until 1916. The original structure is now used as a working studio for artists in residence. (The artists live in “La Casita,” a small cottage next to the Little Studio the Steeles created by joining two small outbuildings for a secondary guest cottage.)
T.C. built the "Large Studio" in 1916 to display his work in an atmosphere consistent with the surrounding landscape. The barn-like structure and wall of north-facing windows provide a fitting and spacious backdrop for T.C.’s paintings. He used this studio primarily to exhibit his work, as well as for sales and entertaining. Today, it is restored and updated to display a rotation of Steele’s original work. Through interactive activities, visitors learn about how plein air painters like Steele create their works.
DEWAR LOG CABIN
Brown County settler Peter Dewar built a log cabin around 1875, five miles south of its present site. The cabin faced destruction in the early 1930s, but realizing that it represented part of Brown County’s heritage, Selma Steele purchased and moved it, then filled it with natural history displays.
During Selma’s lifetime, the cabin contained a collection of moths and butterflies. In 1934, she dedicated the “Trailside Museum” in memory of her brother Walter, an amateur naturalist. Today, though not currently open to the public, it houses wildlife displays as well as exhibits about pioneer life and log cabins.
SELMA N. STEELE STATE NATURE PRESERVE
Selma asked that the property remain “a tribute to natural beauty.” In keeping with her wish, this 92-acre preserve was dedicated in 1990. The topography of the preserve varies enough to support different types of trees and plants. Deep ravines with seasonally flowing streams cut through soft bedrock. Rich undergrowth provides a wealth of wildflowers throughout the spring.
Wildlife that call the preserve home include deer, squirrels, chipmunks, raptors, woodpeckers and other birds. The nature preserve and the adjoining area also is a major breeding ground for neotropical warblers. Wildflower enthusiasts should be sure to look for Yellow Ladies’ Slippers and Showy Orchis.
Visitors may access this natural area via two of the site’s hiking trails.
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