Founded in 1969 to document the architectural, cultural and social history of America’s theatres, the Theatre Historical Society of America is dedicated to the documentation and celebration of these structures in our shared heritage.
Through programs that include the preservation of the collections in the American Theatre Architecture Archive, regional theatre tours, cooperative museum exhibits, publications, lectures, awards and research fellowships, THS seeks to promote appreciation, scholarly study and use of these historically significant buildings.
• The Theatre Historical Society of America is a not-for-profit corporation located in Elmhurst, Illinois. As a not-for-profit organization, THS is exempt from federal income taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. THS is governed by a Board of Directors and is managed by a professional staff.
• The organization was founded in 1969 by Ben M. Hall, author of the book Best Remaining Seats and a group of like-minded individuals with the intention to celebrate historic theatres.
• Prior to settling into its current home and office in Elmhurst, Illinois in 1991, the collections were housed in private homes, Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana, and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Chicago, IL. Today, the collections are accessible in person by appointment at the Willis & Shirley Johnson and Classic Cinemas Research and Education Center or online at historictheatres.org
• The first Conclave Theatre Tour was held in New York City in 1970. The venues visited included the Loew’s Kings, Radio City Musical Hall and visits to two members’ private homes to see models of NY’s Roxy Theatre, and Chicago’s Avalon Theatre.
• The first professional Executive Director, Richard Sklenar was appointed in 1995. Today, the organization is led by Executive Director Richard L. Fosbrink, who was appointed to the role in June 2012.
THS is a member of the following organizations:
American Alliance for Museums | American Association for State and Local History | National Trust for Historic Preservation | Illinois Association of Museums | Kane/DuPage Regional Museum Association | League of Historic American Theatres