LOST THEATRES OF SOMERVILLE
Lost Theatres of Somerville is a visual and oral history of neighborhood picture palaces. It looks at the movie-going experience before the explosion of suburbia and television, when theatres were gathering places for not only the family but the entire neighborhood, communal living rooms where news, gossip, and the promotional give-away were all part of the entertainment. It tells the story of the rise and fall of public entertainment, from 1904 when movies first came to Somerville to the present world of multiplexes and malls.
The exhibit was curated by David Guss. A Professor of Anthropology at Tufts University, Guss has gathered what is perhaps the largest collection of the neighborhood movie-going experience in the United States. Included in the original exhibition were archival photographs from theatres and surrounding businesses, posters, ads, dish sets and other give-aways, seats, original stained glass and fixtures, and even a ten foot neon marquee from the Paramount.
The following history of Somerville's Theatres and the Lost Theatres project was published in Marquee, The Journal of the Theatre Historical Society of America 38,1 (2006): "Lost Theatres of Somerville," by David M. Guss (PDF, 5.1 MB)