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Retro Report

At American Experience, we believe that the best way to understand our present is to look to the past. That's why we're such big fans of Retro Report—a digital-first documentary news organization dedicated to examining stories after their headlines fade; it is non-partisan, independent and non-profit. Beginning in 2016, American Experience partnered with Retro Report to connect the dots between the past and present. Together, we co-produce short, digital-first films that help explain how stories from our past continue to resonate in our world today. 


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    The Eugenics Crusade | Digital Short

    Genetic Screening: Controlling Heredity

    With every new advance in prenatal genetic screening, the ability to prevent suffering has also sparked difficult questions. These fears arise, in part, because just 100 years ago, that’s exactly what the eugenics movement tried to do.

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    Into the Amazon | Digital Short

    Isolated Tribes

    There are approximately 100 tribes in the Amazon rainforest that have not interacted with the modern world.

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    The Great War | Digital Short

    Mr. Pilates

    There is no such thing as “Mr. Yoga,” but there was a “Mr. Pilates.” Explore the popular fitness regime’s surprising roots in WWI.

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    Tesla | Digital Short

    Tesla and Wireless Charging

    Wireless power seems cutting edge, but it was actually pioneered over 100 years ago by Nikola Tesla.

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    The Race Underground | Digital Short

    MBTA Signal Shop

    In this co-production with Retro Report, we visit the MBTA’s Signal Shop, where workers maintain the equipment that keeps the trains on track.

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    Rachel Carson | Digital Short

    Malaria and the Silent Spring

    In this co-production with Retro Report, scientists and historians weigh in on Rachel Carson, and today’s battle against malaria.

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    Command and Control | Digital Short

    Freeman Dyson and Project Orion

    Could interplanetary space travel be made possible by harnessing the power of a nuclear bomb? This Retro Report co-production looks at a Cold War attempt to find a new use for the bomb.

Additional funding for Retro Report co-productions provided by

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