Blake Wood
Publish Date

Sangamon Experience at the University of Illinois Springfield presents a new exhibit, “Susan Lawrence Dana: A Woman of Progress,” opening Aug. 1, 2022, on the lower level of the Public Affairs Center at UIS. The exhibit was created by recent UIS public history graduate Katie Brethorst-Stockwell.

The exhibit is opening just in time for the 102nd anniversary of the definitive 36 state ratification and certification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, removing gender-based prohibitions on suffrage. Visitors to the Sangamon Experience will learn about Susan Lawrence Dana’s involvement in the suffrage movement and her local charitable activities in the exhibit.

Political activism has long been embedded in Springfield’s culture. Susan Lawrence Dana, a Springfield socialite and heiress, used her platform to promote progressive social change, and she regularly advocated for the rights of women and African Americans.

“Susan was a woman that could exist happily today with how ahead of her time she was,” Brethorst-Stockwell said. “Her continued drive for progress brought positive change wherever she focused her energy at that particular moment. She is one of my biggest inspirations, and I am eager to share her story with those who might not know it!”

The new exhibit is showcased within the current exhibit “Sangamo Country: 200 Years of Sangamon County History” in an area dedicated to showcasing the work of public history graduate students at UIS.

“The Sangamon Experience aspire to increase awareness of local history, bring new voices and greater diversity to its stories and serve as a training ground for the next generation of public historians,” said Anne Moseley, director of engagement and curator for Sangamon Experience.

Opened in 2020, Sangamon Experience, located on the lower level of the Public Affairs Center at UIS, aims to provide a broad perspective of the history of the Sangamon region through the presentation of a wide variety of exhibitions and activities developed for and from multiple communities.

For more information, contact Moseley at or 217-206-8663.