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Preserving Historic Theaters

This guide provides information on the history of historic theaters, gives examples of rehabilitation projects across the country, and suggests related resources for interested individuals to track down for more information.



This is a guide about preserving historic theaters. This guide is to provide a basic history of the theater, examples of restored theaters, orgaizations that help preserve  theaters, as well as print and eletronic resources that might be helpful to those who would like to learn more. Email or phone the subject specialist or author of this guide for more information and assistance.



Theaters hold a special place in the hearts of many Americans. They are places of magic and invention, places where anything can, and just might, happen. From the spectacular performing arts halls built in the 19th century to the "Movie Palaces" of the 1920s to the drive-in cinema of the 50s, theaters have adapted to changing trends in entertainment with varying degrees of success. Today, as a part of a growing trend of urban renewal, many theaters are finding new life as performing arts centers, their rebirth made possible by the dedicated efforts of preservationists, concerned citizens, and community-minded civic leaders.

The Maryland Room

Located on the first floor of Hornbake Library North, the Maryland Room serves as the reading room for Special Collections and University Archives. All materials from our collections must be viewed in the reading room.

The Maryland Room is open to University of Maryland students, faculty, and staff; faculty, students, and staff from other colleges and universities; local, national, and international scholars; and members of the general public. You do not need an appointment to view materials in the Maryland Room.  

Materials accessed in the Maryland Room are only available to view in the reading room, and do not circulate.  For directions, hours, and other information, please visit the Maryland Room homepage.  

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