About The Museum of Repertoire Americana
Built and maintained by the Midwest old Settlers and Threshers Association, Inc., the Museum of Repertoire Americana officially opened September 1, 1973, reflecting the long-time dream of repertoire theatre company owners and actors Neil and Caroline Schaffner. The museum is dedicated to the preservation of memorabilia and artifacts of early repertoire theatre. The collection includes numerous painted curtains and scenic pieces; costumes and equipment used by individual performers and technicians; playbills, show cards, advertising sheets, etc.; and an extensive research library of rare scripts, correspondence, tour schedules, production photos and other original source materials. Of special interest is the large collection of videotaped interviews with actual “troupers” describing their professional and personal experiences. The items featured on this website are on display at the Joe Mauck Exhibit Gallery, located inside the Theatre Museum.
About the National Society for the Preservation of Tent, Folk and Repertoire Theatre
Formally incorporated in 1968, the purpose of the National Society is to help preserve the memorabilia and culture of tent, folk and repertoire theatre and to facilitate literary endeavors, scholarly research and public enjoyment and enlightenment. Members of the Society meet for seminars and other events, provide volunteer assistance in the Museum and its research collection, and engage in fund raising activities on behalf of the Museum. Membership is open to anyone who shares the organization’s goals.
Theatre History Seminar
Each year during one weekend in April, the National Society and Old Threshers sponsor a theatre history seminar attended by theatre historians and former repertoire performers from across the country. Research papers are presented and performers share their talents and their reminiscences. Participating in the joy of a bygone era makes this seminar different from any other theatre history program. The tentative 2009 date for the Theatre History Seminar is April 17-19, 2009.
Each summer the traveling tent shows come to life on stage at the Theatre Museum. In 2008, visitors had the opportunity to see a Neil and Caroline Schaffner play: Silk Nightgowns and Long Underwear. The summer play is performed during two weekends in July and again during the Old Threshers Reunion.