Movie Theaters: a Collective Cultural Memory
Movies have been an important part of Iowa's culture since the turn of the last century. Whether the film was projected onto the side of a building as part of a Jackrabbit Tour or played in the most ornate of the state's movie palaces, it connected Iowans to other theater patrons across the nation through a universal experience. In doing so, film allowed us to share modern culture—from clothing and manners to material objects and architecture.
The movie theater as an architectural type takes many different forms, but they are almost always recognizable as a social gathering space for visual entertainment. From the earliest repurposing of opera houses and community halls to the drive-ins and multiplexes of the mid to late-20th century, the movie theater is an architectural type that most Americans share as a collective memory.
We encourage you to explore Iowa's shared movie theater experience by searching for your favorite or by browsing our map. Additional information and photographs will be uploaded throughout the coming months, so check back again soon.