AUGUSTA — During the heyday of vaudeville between 1890 and 1940, painted scenery was commonplace in town halls, grange halls, opera houses and community theaters.

Now, preservationists in Maine are launching a new statewide search for historic painted scenery, which often contains richly painted drapery, countryside or street scenes. They are usually on wooden or metal rollers and often feature ads for local businesses.

With the arrival of movies and then television, the tradition of creating painted roll drops disappeared. Now, much of the historic scenery remains on stage or in storage, sometimes in good condition but more often neglected, torn and dirty.

Some historic scenes have been stabilized, but groups called Curtains Without Borders and Maine Preservation are hoping to locate and document Maine’s historic scenery.