ken burns speaking at podium

Exploring our history with Ken Burns

We support the arts in many different forms as part of our commitment to helping economies thrive and to connecting cultures. Our partnership with Ken Burns is rooted in our shared vision to make history a riveting narrative that resonates with the general public and with students in classrooms around the country.

Explore some of the films from Ken Burns:

Ken burns reading

A legacy of storytelling

Since 2007, we have proudly sponsored the work of Ken Burns and Florentine Films, which blend education and art to create in-depth stories that enlighten people around the world. We’ve proudly supported films like Benjamin Franklin, Muhammad Ali, Hemingway and Country Music as well as The Vietnam War, Jackie Robinson, The Roosevelts, The Address, The Dust Bowl, Prohibition, The Civil War, The Tenth Inning, The National Parks and The War.

Throughout each film, timeless human truths emerge, providing a perspective on our past that helps us better understand our present and move forward.

Film trailers in partnership with Ken Burns and Florentine Films

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin: The man behind the bifocals​

A two-part documentary directed by Ken Burns, Benjamin Franklin explores​ the life and work of one of the most consequential figures in American​ history. His life (1706-1790) spanned nearly the entire 18th century, a period​ of revolutionary change in science, technology, literature, politics and​ government-change that Franklin himself helped to advance. The film​ includes interviews with some of the country’s leading scholars of early​ American history.

Tune in or stream on PBS April 4 and 5 from 8:00 – 10:00 pm ET (check your​ local listings).

An inside look at the film​

Ken Burns and David Schmidt’s Benjamin Franklin explores the extraordinary contributions and inescapable contradictions in the revolutionary life of an impossibly prolific man. The film allows all who watch the chance to get to know one of the most recognizable figures in America history, much better than we already do. Check out the trailer for a glance into what the documentary will cover.

David Schmidt - Ken burns headshot

hear from the film’s director and producer

Letter from Ken Burns and David Schmidt​

For even more insight into the film, read a letter from the creators on the man who “is too interesting, too complicated, and too important a figure not to revisit.”​

Read the letter
muhammad ali film poster

Muhammad Ali: Bigger than Boxing. Larger than Life.

Muhammad Ali, a four-part documentary directed by acclaimed filmmakers Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon, follows the life of one of the most consequential men of the 20th century. It introduces us to all of Ali’s complexities as a three-time heavyweight boxing champion, high-profile figure of racial pride for Black/African Americans, a Muslim who refused to be drafted into the Vietnam War, and an advocate for Parkinson’s Disease awareness and research.

Hemingway movie poster

Ernest Hemingway: His life and work

Hemingway, a film directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick and produced by Sarah Botstein, helps us understand a complicated 20th century author. Using interviews with scholars and family members along with his own words, the documentary explores the complexities of this legendary American writer.

country music movie poster

The soul of country music

Ken Burns’s series, Country Music, explores the history of this uniquely American art form — from its roots over the course of the 20th century through its emergence to become “America’s music.” From strong women to songs of heartache and joy, the film series tells unforgettable stories and demonstrates how music can unite and inspire.

Discover more

PBS logo

Ken Burns on PBS

For more than three decades, Ken Burns and his collaborators have produced some of the most critically acclaimed and most-watched documentaries on public television.

Florentine Films logo

Ken Burns & Florentine Films

Learn about upcoming films, the filmmakers, and more.

UNUM logo

Explore Ken Burns’s UNUM

View highlights from the Florentine Films’ library of work, which advances a more complete understanding of American history.

Ken burns

Hear from the filmmaker

Ken Burns joined host Alicia Burke for two episodes of the original podcast That Made All the Difference. Hear him discuss the emotional inspiration for his life in film and turning this moment in history into meaningful change.