American Experience

American Experience is a television program airing on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) television stations in the United States. The program airs documentaries, many of which have won awards,[3] about important or interesting events and people in American history.

The series premiered on October 4, 1988 and was originally titled The American Experience, but the article "The" was dropped during a later rebrand and image update. The show has had a presence on the Internet since 1995, and more than 100 American Experience programs are accompanied by their own internet websites, which have more background information on the subjects covered as well as teachers' guides and educational companion materials.[4] The show is produced primarily by WGBH-TV in Boston, Massachusetts, though occasionally in the early seasons of the show, it was co-produced by other PBS stations such as WNET (Channel 13) in New York City.

Some programs now considered part of the American Experience collection were produced prior to the creation of the series. Vietnam: A Television History was one of them, airing originally in 1983 after taking six years to assemble.[5] Also, in 2006, American Experience rebroadcast Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, the first half of the award-winning 1986 documentary series about the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s and 1960s.

American Experience
American Experience logo
GenreTelevision documentary
Created byPeter McGhee
Narrated byWill Lyman (late '80s, early to mid-'90s)
David McCullough (also as host)
Theme music composer
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English (US)
No. of seasons31
No. of episodes337 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Judy Crichton
Margaret Drain
Mark Samels
Producer(s)Susan Bellows (Senior Producer)
Running time55 minutes approx. or about two hours
Production company(s)WGBH-TV
Original networkPBS [2]
Original releaseOctober 4, 1988 –
External links


  • 2011 Peabody Award Winner, Episodes: "Triangle Fire", "Freedom Riders" and "Stonewall Uprising"[6]
  • 2010 Peabody Award Winner, Episode: "My Lai"[7]
  • 2005 Peabody Award Winner, Episode: "Two Days in October"[8]
  • 2004 Peabody Award Winner, Episode: "Tupperware!"[9]
  • 2003 Peabody Award WInner, Episode: "The Murder of Emmett Till"[10]
  • 2002 Peabody Award Winner, Episode: "Monkey Trial" [11]
  • 1999 Peabody Award Winner, Episode: "Playing the China Card (Nixon's China Game)"[12]
  • 1998 Peabody Award Winner, Episode: "America 1900"[13]
  • 1998 Peabody Award Winner, Episode: "Riding the Rails"[14]


  1. ^ "David McCullough brings 'John Adams' to life". CNN. June 7, 2011. Archived from the original on October 3, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  2. ^ "Broadcast Schedule . American Experience . WGBH". PBS. Retrieved 2014-05-27.
  3. ^ "About the Series . American Experience . WGBH". PBS. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  4. ^ "American Experience | Who We Are". Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Retrieved October 23, 2012.
  5. ^ "American Experience | Vietnam Online | About the TV Series". PBS. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
  6. ^ 71st Annual Peabody Awards, May 2012.
  7. ^ 70th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2011.
  8. ^ 65th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2006.
  9. ^ 64th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2005.
  10. ^ 63rd Annual Peabody Awards, May 2004.
  11. ^ 62nd Annual Peabody Awards, May 2003.
  12. ^ 59th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2000.
  13. ^ 58th Annual Peabody Awards, May 1999.
  14. ^ 58th Annual Peabody Awards, May 1999.

External links

African Americans

African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group of Americans with total or partial ancestry from any of the black racial groups of Africa. The term typically refers to descendants of enslaved black people who are from the United States.Black and African Americans constitute the third largest racial and ethnic group in the United States (after White Americans and Hispanic and Latino Americans). Most African Americans are descendants of enslaved peoples within the boundaries of the present United States. On average, African Americans are of West/Central African and European descent, and some also have Native American ancestry. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, African immigrants generally do not self-identify as African American. The overwhelming majority of African immigrants identify instead with their own respective ethnicities (≈95%). Immigrants from some Caribbean, Central American and South American nations and their descendants may or may not also self-identify with the term.African-American history starts in the 16th century, with peoples from West Africa forcibly taken as slaves to Spanish America, and in the 17th century with West African slaves taken to English colonies in North America. After the founding of the United States, black people continued to be enslaved, and the last four million black slaves were only liberated after the Civil War in 1865. Due to notions of white supremacy, they were treated as second-class citizens. The Naturalization Act of 1790 limited U.S. citizenship to whites only, and only white men of property could vote. These circumstances were changed by Reconstruction, development of the black community, participation in the great military conflicts of the United States, the elimination of racial segregation, and the civil rights movement which sought political and social freedom. In 2008, Barack Obama became the first African American to be elected President of the United States.

American Experience (season 14)

Season fourteen of the television program American Experience originally aired on the PBS network in the United States on September 30, 2001 and concluded on May 12, 2002. The season contained 14 new episodes and began with the sixth part of the miniseries New York: A Documentary Film, "City of Tomorrow".

American Experience (season 2)

Season two of the television program American Experience originally aired on the PBS network in the United States on October 3, 1989 and concluded on January 16, 1990. The season contained 15 new episodes and began with the film The Great Air Race of 1924.

American Experience (season 20)

Season twenty of the television program American Experience originally aired on the PBS network in the United States on January 14, 2008 and concluded on May 6, 2008. The season contained 14 new episodes and began with the film Oswald's Ghost. The last eight parts of the 14-part Eyes on the Prize miniseries were a rebroadcast of the production originally shown during 1990 on PBS. It was shown as a special presentation of American Experience during February in observance of Black History Month.

American Experience (season 24)

Season twenty-four of the television program American Experience originally aired on the PBS network in the United States on January 10, 2012 and concluded on September 18, 2012. The season contained eight new episodes and began with the film Billy the Kid.

American Experience (season 26)

Season twenty-six of the television program American Experience originally aired on the PBS network in the United States from January 7, 2014 and concluded on November 18, 2014. The season contained seven new episodes and began with the film The Poisoner's Handbook.

American Experience (season 27)

Season twenty-seven of the television program American Experience originally aired on the PBS network in the United States on January 6, 2015 and concluded on November 24, 2015. The season contained 11 new episodes and began with the film Ripley: Believe It or Not.

Civilian Conservation Corps

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men. Originally for young men ages 18–25, it was eventually expanded to ages 17–28. Robert Fechner was the first director of the agency, succeeded by James McEntee following Fechner's death. The CCC was a major part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal that provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state, and local governments. The CCC was designed to provide jobs for young men and to relieve families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression in the United States. Maximum enrollment at any one time was 300,000. Through the course of its nine years in operation, 3 million young men participated in the CCC, which provided them with shelter, clothing, and food, together with a wage of $30 (about $570 in 2017) per month ($25 of which had to be sent home to their families).

The American public made the CCC the most popular of all the New Deal programs. Sources written at the time claimed an individual's enrollment in the CCC led to improved physical condition, heightened morale, and increased employability. The CCC also led to a greater public awareness and appreciation of the outdoors and the nation's natural resources, and the continued need for a carefully planned, comprehensive national program for the protection and development of natural resources.

The CCC operated separate programs for veterans and Native Americans. Approximately 15,000 Native Americans participated in the program, helping them weather the Great Depression.By 1942, with World War II and the draft in operation, the need for work relief declined, and Congress voted to close the program.

Clinton (film)

Clinton is a biographical film about former President Bill Clinton. Produced by PBS for the series of American Experience, the film documents Clinton's life, from childhood until the end of his second term in 2001. Clinton features interviews with political advisers, campaign strategists, and childhood friends. The film is narrated by Campbell Scott. It was released in 2012.

D-Day Remembered

D-Day Remembered is a 1994 American documentary film directed by Charles Guggenheim for The National D-Day Museum. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

David McCullough

David Gaub McCullough (; born July 7, 1933) is an American author, narrator, popular historian, and lecturer. He is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian award.Born and raised in Pittsburgh, McCullough earned a degree in English literature from Yale University. His first book was The Johnstown Flood (1968); and he has since written nine more on such topics as Harry S. Truman, John Adams, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Wright brothers. McCullough has also narrated numerous documentaries, such as The Civil War by Ken Burns, as well as the 2003 film Seabiscuit; and he hosted American Experience for twelve years.

McCullough's two Pulitzer Prize-winning books, Truman and John Adams, have been adapted by HBO into a TV film and a miniseries, respectively.

Eyes on the Prize

Eyes on the Prize is an American television series and 14-part documentary about the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. The documentary originally aired on the PBS network and also aired in the United Kingdom on BBC2. Created and executive produced by Henry Hampton at the film production company Blackside and narrated by Julian Bond, the series uses archival footage, stills and interviews of participants and opponents of the movement. The title of the series is derived from the folk song "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize," which is used in each episode as the opening theme music.

A total of 14 episodes of Eyes on the Prize were produced in two separate parts. The first part, Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years 1954–1965, chronicles the time period between the United States Supreme Court ruling Brown v. Board of Education (1954) to the Selma to Montgomery marches of 1965. It consists of six episodes, which premiered on January 21, 1987 and concluded on February 25, 1987. The second part, Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads 1965–1985, chronicles the time period between the national emergence of Malcolm X during 1964 to the 1983 election of Harold Washington as the first African-American mayor of Chicago. It consists of eight episodes, which aired on January 15, 1990 and ended on March 5, 1990, and was made widely available to educators on VHS tape. All 14 hours were re-released on DVD in 2006 by PBS.

List of American Experience episodes

American Experience, originally titled The American Experience, is an American television program and a PBS documentary series created by Peter McGhee. The series airs documentaries about historic events or historical figures that had an impact upon the United States government or its citizens. The show is produced primarily by WGBH-TV, a television station and PBS affiliate located in Boston, Massachusetts. WGBH-TV creates non-commercial educational programs and distributes them on public television stations throughout the United States. However, other PBS affiliate stations, such as WNET in New York City, have co-produced episodes for the television series. Since the program's debut on October 4, 1988, American Experience has broadcast 337 episodes and has been a recipient of over 265 broadcast and web awards. The program's thirty-first season premiered on January 15, 2019.

Radio Bikini

Radio Bikini is a 1988 American documentary film directed by Robert Stone. It was nominated for an Academy Award in 1988 for Best Documentary Feature. It was later aired on the PBS series The American Experience. The film documents the nuclear tests performed around Bikini Atoll during Operation Crossroads in 1946, and their effects on the indigenous population and American servicemen involved.

Smithsonian (magazine)

Smithsonian is the official journal published by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The first issue was published in 1970.

The Johnstown Flood (1989 film)

The Johnstown Flood is a 1989 American short documentary film directed by Charles Guggenheim about the Johnstown Flood. It won the Oscar at the 62nd Academy Awards for Documentary Short Subject. David McCullough, author of The Johnstown Flood hosted the series.

Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience

The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience is a history museum of the culture, art and history of Asian Pacific Americans located in Seattle, Washington's Chinatown-International District, founded in 1967. It is a Smithsonian Institution affiliate, and the only pan-Asian Pacific American community-based museum in the US. In February 2013 it was recognized as one of two dozen affiliated areas of the U.S. National Park Service.

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