Skip to main content
Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Moviegoing in America: Nickelodeons to Movie Palaces to IMAX to Streaming

Noon Lecture/Seminar

Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0090
Select Your Tickets

The Fox Theater in Atlanta

Ever since the movie industry was born in the 1890s, audiences have been thrilled to watch stories come to life on the big screen. At first, this screen wasn’t very big—nor was attending the stuffy local nickelodeon all that pleasant. But by the 1920s, extravagant movie palaces were constructed in downtowns all over the country and moviegoing was transformed into a luxury experience.

Sadly, this would end in the 1950s with the rise of the suburbs and the explosion of drive-in theaters, followed by shopping-mall multiplexes. Today, going to the movies can be either overwhelming—at seven-story IMAX theaters—or thoroughly unpleasant, as your neighbor gobbles nachos and beer and teenagers talk and text throughout the film. And with the advent of the pandemic, for most of us, moviegoing is now just a memory.

Brian Rose, a professor emeritus at Fordham University, looks at the fascinating history of movie theaters and examines how the experience of moviegoing has changed over the decades—and whether movie theaters will even survive in the age of streaming services.

Patron Information

  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
  • Unless otherwise noted, registration for streaming programs typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the program.
  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from CustomerService@SmithsonianAssociates.org.
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.