Evaluating your collection You need to understand your historic stage and painted scenery collection in order to preserve it. Whether you are interested in an inspection of your current rigging system, an evaluation of a painted backdrop, or a replacement appraisal of your historical scenery collection, please contact us for our next available appointment.
Preserving the Past for Future Generations Where are the largest scene collections? In theaters constructed by the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.
Scottish Rite theaters should be considered fine art depositories that define an exciting moment in American theatre history. Masonic scenery is critical to the understanding of historical scenery, stage machinery, costumes and lighting systems.
The State of Scottish Rite Scenery Scottish Rite scenery collections and historic counterweight rigging systems are often misunderstood. These important artifacts are often underinsured and stored in deteriorating facilities. They frequently fall prey to leaking roofs or bursting water pipes. The inability to utilize a painted scene during Fraternal ceremonies is often the only instigator to evaluate or appraise an entire collection. Some masonic theaters have decided to invest in their future through the preservation of their past. The scottish Rite in mcalester, oklahoma joined a small group of Valleys when they decided to restore their 1929 scenery collections.
This exceptional collection of 112 drops was the scenery collection produced by Thomas Gibbs Moses (1856-1932). His work included scenery for fifty-five Scottish Rite temples nationwide. Many historic theater owners do not understand the significance of these large-scale artworks, or the reason to preserve this material culture. Unfortunately, the repair or replacement of painted scenery is perceived as optional in both fraternal and commercial theaters. Inaction could result in the disappearance of this artistic heritage unless sufficient interest is generated concerning the importance of these historic artifacts. Our goal is to raise awareness and preserve the past.
Scottish Rite scenery collections construct time capsules for art historians and theatre practitioners, offering a rich resource that depicts aesthetic shifts in the field of scenic art and stage design. Fraternal scenery collections represent a primary resource for art historians to explore painting techniques and color palettes otherwise unavailable. Painted scenery for commercial theatre was typically discarded at a production’s close, leaving only secondary sources in the form of playbills, reviews or other photographic documentation. Much of the scenery used for current Masonic degree work originated between 1900 and 1960. Many of these backdrop collections are in imminent danger of disappearance. Humidity, water damage, dry rot, punctures, sagging cables, warped battens and many other factors are contributing to the rapid deterioration of Scottish Rite scenery across the Nation.