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The Twin City Scenic collection

Identifier: PA043

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains almost 2,000 items produced by the Twin City Scenic Studio. Items include scenic drops, picture screens, studio photographs of renderings, sample interiors and model pieces.


  • Creation: 1895-1979


Language of Materials


Restrictions on Access

The collection is open and available for use by researchers in the Andersen Library Reading Room.

Restrictions on Use

Contact the archivist regarding the copyright to these materials.

Biographical Information

Three employees of the Bijou Opera House in Minneapolis founded the Twin City Scenic Studio in 1895. The Studio created elaborate scene sets for theatre productions all across the United States. The peak production of the studio was from its inception until the mid 1920s. After the stock market crash of 1929 and the introduction of "talkies" the studio began to shift its focus from primarily designing and painting scenery for theatre to developing drapery and display work for non-theatre organizations, such as department stores and auditoriums. The studio closed in 1980 after a fire destroyed its building.


33 boxes


Collection contains almost 2,000 sketches, model pieces, photographs and renderings of backdrops pertaining to scenic design and painting.

Physical Location

Mezzanine, High Bay

Other Finding Aid

An unpublished finding aid with detailed contents is available. Please contact the Performing Arts Archives for details.


Donated by W.R. Brown, past president of the Twin City Scenic Studio, in 1984.

Related Material

The Performing Arts Archives at the University of Minnesota preserves multiple scenic design collections. For more information, please contact Performing Arts Archives Staff.

Materials in this collection have been digitized and are available online in Umedia by visiting:

See also the publication The Twin City Scenic collection : popular entertainment, 1895-1929 : [exhibition], April 5-June 14, 1987, University Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. c.1987.

The Twin City Scenic collection
Karen Spilman
December 2004
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Performing Arts Archives Collecting Area