We Mourn the Passing of Terry Rankine

Submitted by David

We mourn the passing of Terry Rankine of South Thomaston, Maine, who left this earth in March 2013. Northeast Historic Film and Terry met through Alan McClelland, an NHF board member, when both were associated with the Owl’s Head Transportation Museum.

Terry was delightful: he was courteous, generous, kind, and a clear thinker. As we wrestled with our mission as a moving image preservation and access organization--and situation in the derelict 1916 Alamo Theatre, Terry calmly solved our two biggest problems: how to create an appropriately-sized auditorium in what was once a 600-seat cinema, and what form our Conservation Center (cold storage facility) would take.

Terry was an architect at Cambridge Seven Associates (do you know the New England Aquarium or the Charles Hotel in Cambridge?) having moved from Scotland and joined the firm at its founding in 1962. On retirement he came to Maine, later joining Northeast Historic Film’s board.

Weighing how to accommodate a multipurpose screening space in our town of 5,000, Terry, as design and planning consultant, created a simple box bordered by open galleries overlooking seating for 125. To maximize archival workspace, the auditorium was overhung with work and storage spaces on the second floor. The treasured foam-core model he presented became for us an icon of elegant problem solving.

With the cinema completed, in 2000 we faced the need to build cold storage for audiovisual collections, which had outgrown provisional space. Bill O’Farrell of the National Archives of Canada, David Weiss, and Terry traveled to Los Angeles to learn from David Wexler, founder of Hollywood Vaults. Wexler’s modular climate-control plan appeared practical. Terry determined that the function of cold storage should be reflected in the addition’s exterior.

We described Terry’s vision in a request for funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, “Mr. Rankine's intention for the Conservation Center is that its appearance should reflect the efficiency and reliability necessary to its function, and yet present a friendly face to Bucksport, a town of seafarer’s houses, small commercial buildings, and a paper mill. A particular challenge has been to harmonize a 21st-century aesthetic with the early 20th-century design of the Alamo, a task honoring the interests of the town and the state's historic preservation establishment as well as NHF's own needs. While the storage building's function necessitates windowless construction, a glass-walled connecting structure will provide a bright and welcoming focal point for visitors and passers-by.”
And so it was done.

Terry and Dorothy contributed to our annual fund for many years. Our sincere condolences to the family.