About the State Historical Society > News > 2011

State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release October 28, 2011

Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

SHPO takes "Hollywood in the Heartland" to the Internet

Research project documents Iowa’s historic theaters, Iowans in the movies and more

DES MOINES – The State Historic Preservation Office is taking its “Hollywood in the Heartland” research project to the Internet.

“Hollywood in the Heartland” is a multi-phase, multi-year research project that began four years ago with a statewide survey of Iowa’s historical theaters, Iowa-related movies and Iowans with connections to the movie industry.

Iowans can peruse those findings and submit additional information at www.preservationiowa.org/hollywood. SHPO is partnering with Preservation Iowa to make the Web presence available to Iowans and others around the world.

“This is an exciting, new step because Iowans and others will be able to review and contribute to the research information right on the Internet,” Department of Cultural Affairs Director Mary Tiffany Cownie said. “I encourage anybody with an interest in the movie industry to visit the site and learn more about Iowa’s historical connections to it and how they can participate in this project.”

The project focuses on the historical and architectural significance of movie theaters in Iowa from the days of the nickelodeons in the late 1890s to the decline of drive-in theaters and the spread of multiplexes in the mid-1970s. It is also accepting information about Iowa-related movies and Iowans who have been involved in the movie industry.

To date, the project has generated more than 200 entries, a National Register Multiple Property Document and a National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Sioux Theater in Sioux Rapids. In addition, it contains a typology of Iowa movie theater properties based on the survey findings and a list of theaters determined eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

The project is being conducted by SHPO in partnership with Preservation Iowa, Main Street Iowa and the Iowa Tourism Office. In addition, Robert Fridley of Fridley Theatres has granted access to portions of his company archives and his personal collections representing more than 60 years of movie history in Iowa

“Hollywood in the Heartland” is supported by a Preserve America grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Contact Paula Mohr at the State Historic Preservation Office at paula.mohr@iowa.gov or 515-281-6826 for more information.


The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is responsible for developing the state’s interest in the areas of the arts, history and other cultural matters with the advice and assistance from its two divisions: the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Iowa Arts Council. DCA preserves, researches, interprets and promotes an awareness and understanding of local, state and regional history and stimulates and encourages the study and presentation of the performing and fine arts and public interest and participation in them. It implements tourism-related art and history projects as directed by the General Assembly and designs a comprehensive, statewide, long-range plan with the assistance of the Iowa Arts Council to develop the arts in Iowa. More information about DCA is available at www.culturalaffairs.org.
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