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Stream hundreds of never-before-seen interviews from our 34-year archive


Extended interviews with Maya Angelou, Patti Smith, Mel Brooks, Carol Burnett, Matthew Broderick, Carl Reiner, Joan Rivers, Audra McDonald and others are now available, with searchable transcripts


American Masters has been on the air since 1986. For four decades, we’ve asked: who has changed America? We’ve aired hundreds of carefully crafted programs that illuminate the stories of our cultural giants. But just a fraction of the interviews filmed for American Masters appear in the final films; nearly 96% of the footage never gets released. Now, the American Masters digital archive makes this rich catalog of interviews available to the public.

What’s in the archive?

The archive includes over 1,000 hours of footage from more than 1,000 original, never-before-seen, full, raw interviews: a treasure trove of the movers and shakers of American culture, including Maya Angelou, Patti Smith, Mel Brooks, Carol Burnett, Matthew Broderick, Carl Reiner, Joan Rivers, Audra McDonald, Lee Grant, Patricia Bosworth, Sidney Lumet, William Buckley and many others.

How do I use the archive?

Created as a public research-and-learning tool with an emphasis on usability, discoverability and comprehensive indexing, the American Masters digital archive is a powerful database of American artistic and cultural achievements. Each interview includes searchable, synchronized transcription powered by Trint. The search and synchronization features allow viewers to jump to sections of the interview just by searching for a word in the transcript and clicking immediately to the result, with video timecode embedded in each and every word.

About the American Masters digital archive

In 2016, American Masters completed the digitization of 2,156 tapes and launched the digital archive, releasing interview selections through the American Masters Podcast and videos on the American Masters website. All full-length, digitized interviews are archived by the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between GBH and the Library of Congress to preserve and make accessible significant historical content created by public media.

The American Masters digital archive is produced by Joe Skinner and Winter Shanck is WNET’s Senior Archivist. Michael Kantor is American Masters’ executive producer.

Funding for the American Masters digital archive is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts ($90,000) and the National Archives’ National Historical Publications and Records Commission ($87,375).


PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.