Durwood Foundation Funds Film Vault Renovations at Central Library

Monday, April 23, 2007
Paul Smith
Durwood Foundation Funds Film Vault Renovations at Central Library

(Kansas City, Missouri) — The Stanley H. Durwood Foundation has donated $208,777 to the Kansas City Public Library for renovations that will transform the Central Library’s Film Vault into a state-of-the-art screening room with a look and feel reminiscent of a mid-twentieth century movie theater.

In recognition of this donation, the Kansas City Public Library Board of Trustees has voted to rename the space the Stanley H. Durwood Film Vault. The trustees also agreed to uphold exacting standards for maintenance of the space to ensure a high quality film viewing experience for patrons for years to come.

Major enhancements for the Stanley H. Durwood Film Vault include a new 8-foot by 5-foot projection screen; a three-chip DLP projector outfitted with a DVD player, high-definition VHS player and satellite/CATV receiver and a stereo surround sound system. The new design also includes aesthetic improvements such as fixed theater-style seating for 28, plush red carpeting and wall panels as well as floor-to-ceiling columns that resemble stacked film canisters.

A formal public reception to unveil the Stanley H. Durwood Film Vault will take place on Wednesday, May 23, at 6 p.m.

“The Durwood Foundation is extremely pleased to participate in the creation of this unique theater space at the Kansas City Public Library,” foundation trustees Ray Beagle and Charles Egan noted in a prepared statement. “The Central Library’s renovated Film Vault offers a lasting recognition of Stan Durwood's extraordinary, entrepreneurial accomplishments in the city where it all began.”

Stanley H. Durwood is recognized as an industry pioneer, having established the multiplex theater concept that revolutionized the industry as well as the movie-going experience. Starting with a single ‘second run’ theater in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, Durwood’s leadership propelled AMC Entertainment Inc. to grow into today's chain of more than 5,000 screens. In the process, Durwood pioneered many of the industry's important innovations and theatre designs. For example, in 1963, he opened what is believed to be the first commercial twin multiplex in the U.S., and then continued the development of today’s megaplex centers. Under Durwood’s leadership, AMC offered innovative developments such as cup holder armrests, stadium seating, and love seat-style seating as well as automated ticketing. With more than 5,000 screens worldwide today, AMC has maintained its headquarters in Kansas City throughout its 87-year history.

The Stanley H. Durwood Foundation was funded in 2004 and is primarily focused on education.

Located in the basement of the Central Library, the Stanley H. Durwood Film Vault was originally constructed as an actual bank vault for the old First National Bank, which built the present-day Central Library building at 14 W. 10th Street in downtown Kansas City in 1906. The vault area itself was installed in 1926, and features a seven-foot tall steel door that is 20 inches thick and weighs 35 tons.