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Archive for Behind The Scenes

Farewell Summer 2016 Interns!


American Experience interns do much more than just make the coffee (in fact, they don't -- we just let the coffee maker do that). At the end of a semester spent transcribing, researching, writing and fact-checking they've essentially become amateur history sleuths. We were very proud of the work done by our summer interns this year, but alas, we must now say good bye as they head back to campus. We asked them for their takeaways from their semester as professional history nerds.


Celebrating the Boys of '36


American Experience rolled out the red white and blue carpet last night for a special screening of our upcoming documentaryThe Boys of '36, about the U.S. men's rowing team who took gold at the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin. Not only were we joined by our exclusive corporate funder Liberty Mutual, but we also had several former and current U.S. Olympians attend with our engagement partner, USRowing. Some of them even brought their gold medals!


Remembering John Seigenthaler


At American Experience, we are grateful for Mr. Seigenthaler’s stories, for his time, and for his enduring contribution to this nation. He will be missed.


To Obey or to Stray: That is the Question


The Amish are not a monolithic group. In fact, they live in more than 450 settlements spread across 30 states and one Canadian province. The founders of each of these settlements determine their local Ordnung or set of church rules. Some new settlements became stricter than the communities they left, and others relax the rules. Women’s head coverings and dress styles might change. Maybe gas-powered lawn mowers were not allowed in the home community, but they are allowed in the daughter settlement. 

In “The Amish: Shunned,” diversity is especially noticeable in the contrast between the community where Anna came from and the one where Naomi came from. Anna is from a Swartzentruber group, which is the strictest of the strict. Naomi comes from a more progressive community. Here are some of the differences:


Gettysburg Address @ 150


Calling all history buffs: We need your help this week -- and your videos! This month marks the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's delivery of the Gettysburg Address. Help us honor the occasion by sending us a video of you, your students, or your child reciting the Address. We need your videos by NEXT WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 13!! If your video is selected, it will be one of many featured on the American Experience website and social media sites.


A Retrospective


This fall American Experience is celebrating 25 years on the air. We have celebrated with a staff spirit week (we each dressed up as our favorite American Experience documentary) and we just finished a Best Film Ever bracket (winner: Abraham & Mary Lincoln, though so many people complained that their favorite was not included that we may just have to do another!)

To date, we have produced 287 documentaries, over 399 hours and 428 nights of original television programming. In this 3-minute video retrospective, our longtime editor has collected some of our best, most moving, and most controversial film moments. 

Which is your favorite?