Theater drops to be removed from Winona temple

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WINONA, Minn. (AP) -- A city in southeastern Minnesota has chosen to remove 98 rare hand-painted scenic theater backdrops from display and store them indefinitely.

The Winona Daily News reports the decision stems from an engineer's report that determined the rigging system was dangerous. The city of Winona opted to remove the drops from its Masonic Temple because it doesn't have the funds to spend on a multimillion-dollar repair project.

It's estimated the replacement of the rigging system would cost around $2 million, plus renovations to the temple and repairs to some of the dilapidating drops. Restoring the artwork could likely cost anywhere from $500,000 to $750,000.

A volunteer group has formed to help Winona decide the future of the historic drops.

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