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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release May 10, 2013

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

SHSI's "History for Lunch" lecture series continues Thursday

Experience the history of Iowa's opera houses and movie theatres

(DES MOINES) – The State Historical Society of Iowa’s History for Lunch lecture series continues Thursday in Iowa City with a discussion about Iowa’s historical opera houses and movie theatres.

Ralph Christian and Paula Mohr of the State Historic Preservation Office will present “From Lillian Russell to Ashton Kutcher: Iowa’s Opera Houses and Movie Theatres” at noon on Thursday, May 16, 2013, at the State Historical Society of Iowa’s Centennial Building, 402 Iowa Avenue in Iowa City. The presentation is free and open to the public. Call 319-335-3911 for more information.

Iowa has a full range of historic entertainment venues from opera houses located in small towns across the state to the grand movie palaces in its largest cities. This presentation will tell how and where Iowans enjoyed various forms of entertainment – from early settlement to the multiplexes of today.

In addition, SHSI will offer a sneak peek at a “coming attraction” – the exhibition, “Hollywood in the Heartland: A Century of Moviegoing in Iowa,” which opens in 2014 at the State Historical Museum of Iowa in Des Moines. The exhibition will celebrate Iowa’s relationship with the movie industry through an examination of the people and places related to the development and consumption of motion pictures.

Christian is a historian for the State Historic Preservation Office, where he has worked in virtually every aspect of the program for over 30 years. Christian was the project director for Iowa’s opera house survey completed in 1993. He received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Guilford College and a Master of Arts in History from Wake Forest University.

Mohr is an architectural historian for the State Historic Preservation Office and manages the nation’s largest local government preservation program. Mohr was the project director for the Preserve America-funded project “Hollywood in the Heartland.” She received a Masters of Arts in Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program and a Ph.D. in architectural history from the University of Virginia.



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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