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Rockford Theater Will Soon Highlight Its Past

A northern Illinois theater that started out as a movie and vaudeville house in the 1920s is now sharing its history by opening an education center this fall.

Coronado Performing Arts Center

Beth Howard, the executive director of the Friends of the Coronado Foundation, said there’s a lot of artifacts related to the theater that people don’t get to see, but that is changing soon.

“We've now have established our space in the Coronado corner that will have permanent collections exhibited, as well as the incredible photos,” she said. “They have historical photos, and just really telling the story of the Coronado as well, the whole era of these movie palaces.”

She explained that there is an archiving organization that has been with the theater since the early 80's.

"And they have meticulously archived our history, we have a lot of artifacts," Howard explained. "We've brought them out for occasions, and we've given tours, and they give wonderful tours."

Howard said the Coronado is different from some other theaters that she has come across.

“This history is very unique. When I go to conferences, and there's around 400 other theaters, there are not many that own their history like we do,” she said. “So, we’re ready to show it off.”

Howard said the organization is finishing the displays and hope to have things up and running by the end of October.

People can keep up with the progress by liking the Friends of the Coronado Foundation Facebook page. Notifications will be sent with information on how to reserve a spot.

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.
Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.