Ken Burns’ American History Night on PBS plus bonus content for homebound teachers and students revealed

Ken Burns
Ken Burns during a recent interview. Pic credit: CBS This Morning/YouTube

PBS and filmmaker Ken Burns announced today that The Roosevelts: An Intimate History will be available to stream on and other PBS platforms beginning this Thursday, March 26.

There will also be a broadcast of the series on participating PBS stations.

Following this will be The National Parks: America’s Best Idea and The War.

What airs this week on PBS and how can teachers use the content?

The Roosevelts has educational materials ready for teachers.

Teachers (and others) can visit PBS Learning Media for more on that. Ken’s digital platform is UNUM, which connects history and current events using clips from his films.

PBS Learning Media, PBS’s free service “provides thousands of contextualized learning materials aligned to state and national standards, will offer educators nationwide resources timed to the re-release of these films in the ‘Ken Burns Classroom’ hub.”

Included is a library of videos, interactive media, and other materials to help students further explore the complex historical events and issues illustrated in the films. Burns will also participate in teacher forums and online discussions with students, according to PBS.

There are thematic playlists as UNUM has also added a section for AP history students, with clips from Ken’s films organized by AP themes.

American History Night with Ken Burns

These special presentations are part of PBS’s efforts to offer educational and entertaining content during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Bonus airings

These programs will also be available for streaming on all station-branded PBS platforms, including and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast.

PBS station members will also be able to view all episodes via Passport (contact your local PBS station for details).

Viewers should check local listings for air dates and times since stations may broadcast at different times.

Burns said in his video to viewers that these were very tough times.

He added:

…”As we hunker down in our homes, the world seems a different and scary place. Many of us – most of us – have never experienced anything like this before, and we look to our past for examples of how we can get through hard times.

I’ve explored, throughout our history, many stories of hardship, courage and, most of all, shared sacrifice…We are at our best when we know in our hearts that the U.S. also means us — all of us.”

East Lake Meadows: A Public Housing Story is a new film executive produced by Ken Burns and directed by Sarah Burns and David McMahon.

This will air on Tuesday, March 24 at 8/7c.

The film explores the themes of racism and housing, focusing especially on East Lake Meadows, a public housing project in Atlanta.

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History — which was written by Geoffrey C. Ward — originally aired in 2014.

The seven-part film tells the stories of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt — who not only redefined the relationship Americans had with their government and with each other but also redefined the role of the United States in the world.

The Roosevelts will air beginning Thursday, March 26 at 9/8c.  The final two episodes will air on Thursday, April 30.

The National Parks, which was written by Dayton Duncan, will begin on June 11 and air Thursdays through July 9.

The War will air on Thursdays, July 23-September 4 on PBS.

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