Book provides history of hand-painted stage scenery


Chris Hadsel, director of Curtains Without Borders, has written a book on the hand-painted stage scenery that graced many New England halls a century ago.

Hadsel was instrumental in saving the West Paris Grange Hall curtains, which have been restored and hung in the Wardsboro, Vt., Town Hall.

“Suspended Worlds” is about historic theater curtains in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. It includes photographs of the work Curtains Without Borders has accomplished over the past 15 years.

Curtains Without Borders is dedicated to documenting and preserving historic painted scenery. The curtains are found in town halls, Grange halls, theaters and opera houses, and were created almost exclusively between 1890 and 1940.

Curtains Without Borders began in 1996 as a project of the Vermont Museum & Gallery Alliance. The organization, supported by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, began a statewide survey to find and assess the condition of Vermont’s collection of painted scenery. It found 185 painted curtains. In Maine, a collaborative project with Maine Preservation also identified about 140 historic painted theater curtains.

For more information about the book and an early book order form, go to

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