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Pictures of Picture Palaces at the National Building Museum

Nov 16, 2018
Of the dozens and dozens of theatres in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metro areas built in the early 20th century, some have been beautifully restored while others languish in disuse or have been demolished. Baltimore Sun staff photographer Amy Davis captures them all, thriving or moribund, in photographs displayed in a new exhibit in Washington, D.C.
On Saturday, November 17th, Flickering Treasures: Rediscovering Baltimore’s Forgotten Movie Theaters, supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), will open at the National Building Museum. Through the lens of neighborhood theatres, the exhibit projects stories of social change, urban decline, and revitalization. In addition to Davis’ photographs, the exhibit includes excerpts of oral histories she conducted with neighborhood residents about their local theaters, as well as archival photos and architectural fragments.
Among the theaters photographed by Davis is Baltimore’s Parkway Theatre. Built in 1915 to host vaudeville shows, the Parkway fell into neglect before being restored and reopened in 2017 as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway Theatre. The building’s revitalization took place through a collaboration between Johns Hopkins University, the Maryland Film Festival, and the Maryland Institute College of Art and was supported by the SNF, among others. Today, the Parkway brings a slate of cultural events to its neighborhood. From November 2nd-4th, for instance, it was the venue of the inaugural Baltimore Greek Film Festival, which presented notable recent works by Greek Filmmakers. The series was a project of the Maryland Film Festival, for which SNF also provides support.