Visitors to the Willis & Shirley Johnson and Classic Cinemas Research & Education Center at the Theatre Historical Society of America have the opportunity to research in the greatest theatre architecture-related archive of its kind, the American Theatre Architecture Archive (ATAA). The Collections housed in the ATAA contain information on over 16,000 theatres (both domestic and international) and span nearly every style and period of theatre architecture. In addition, they contain historical artifacts and resources documenting the social and cultural heritage of movie theatres and performing arts venues in America.
Our Collections are composed of photographs, negatives, slides, postcards, artists’ renderings, scrapbooks, books, periodicals, business records, blueprints and architectural drawings, supplier and trade catalogs, architectural artifacts, theatre furnishings, ushers’ uniforms, and numerous other items relating to theatre buildings and their cultural and social history.
THS welcomes those who seek to do on-site research within our Collections at the Willis & Shirley Johnson and Classic Cinemas Research & Education Center. However, all on-site research is by prior appointment only.
Please call or email the Archives Director at least 7 days in advance to schedule an appointment. Please note the Willis & Shirley Johnson and Classic Cinemas Research & Education Center is not currently handicap accessible.
Reproduction and Publication Fees
Fees are charged for reproduction and usage of findings from our collections including images, original artwork and the like. These fees support ongoing preservation and collection management.
-Students doing research for thesis or dissertations will not be charged for reproductions if a copy of the final work is provided to the Theatre Historical Society of America’s Archives.
-Persons or organizations applying for National Historic Landmark status or applying for a state or local endangered places list will not be charged for reproductions if a copy of the final application is provided to the Theatre Historical Society of America’s Archives.
-Theatre Historical Society of America Members receive free photocopying onsite, waived research fees, and 50% discount on reproductions.