The Foundation for the National Archives Announces Filmmaker Ken Burns as the Recipient of the 2010 Records of Achievement Award

Mar 09, 2010, 14:52 ET from Foundation for the National Archives

Annual gala to be held in November 2010 in Washington, DC

WASHINGTON, March 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Foundation for the National Archives will present the seventh annual Records of Achievement Award to Ken Burns, the award-winning filmmaker whose documentaries The Civil War, Baseball and Jazz have broken new ground in historical moviemaking. Burns will receive the award at the Foundation's annual Gala at the National Archives on Tuesday, November 9, 2010 in Washington, DC. This event is made possible by Bank of America.

The Records of Achievement Award, the Foundation's highest honor, is the annual tribute to an individual whose work has cultivated a broader national awareness of the history and identity of the United States.  The honoree's accomplishments reflect the Foundation's mission: To elevate the stories found in the billions of documents, photographs, maps, films, and recordings in the Archives' holdings in a manner that fosters a fuller understanding of the American experience. The recipients of the Records of Achievement Award help educate, enrich, and even inspire a deeper appreciation of the country, its democratic ideals, and the rich heritage of its people.  

Selecting Burns for the Records of Achievement Award was a natural choice. As one of the nation's best-known historians, Burns has contributed a great public service by keeping our collective history vital. His documentary The Civil War, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, has educated millions about a pivotal moment in American history. With the Foundation set to open the 150th anniversary Civil War exhibition this spring, honoring Burns could not be more fitting. Furthermore Burn's documentaries make significant use of the Archives vast holdings. He credits the Archives as the source of the majority of his research and images for The War, his landmark film series on World War II.

The Foundation's mission is to encourage Americans to tap into the Archives resources, much as the National Archives Experience aims to do with the sweeping anniversary exhibit "Discovering the Civil War," the first half of which opens in April.  This year's Records of Achievement Award Gala coincides with the opening of the second part of the exhibition in November and will feature an exclusive three-day viewing of the original Emancipation Proclamation.

The Gala celebrates the public-private partnership between the National Archives and Records Administration and the Foundation for the National Archives, which was created to support the development of programs, technology, exhibits, and educational materials based on the vast holdings of the National Archives.  

"Ken Burns is one of the greatest documentarians of all time," said Foundation for the National Archives Chairman and President Ken Lore. "With his expert use of primary source materials and his tireless efforts to tell the human stories beyond the headlines, Ken embodies the spirit of the Records of Achievement Award."

"Few filmmakers have contributed as much to the field of American history as Ken Burns. Whether delving into the expedition of Lewis and Clark, the suffrage movement or the history of jazz, his films have educated and engaged, creating a new generation of Americans with a passion for history," said David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States. "By revealing the stories that comprise our collective history, Burns' body of work has enriched our understanding of our national heritage and strengthened the pillars of our democracy."

Ken Burns has been making films for more than thirty years. Since the Academy Award nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, Burns has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made including Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson, Mark Twain, Baseball, Jazz, The War and The Civil WarThe Civil War has been honored with more than forty major film and television awards, including two Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards, Producer of the Year Award from the Producer's Guild, People's Choice Award, Peabody Award, DuPont-Columbia Award, D.W. Griffiths Award, and the $50,000 Lincoln Prize, among dozens of others.  In September of 2008, Burns was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Films currently in production include "The Tenth Inning," an update to Burns' 1994 epic Baseball, scheduled to be shown on PBS in 2010, as well as a three-part, six-hour history of Prohibition, tentatively set for PBS broadcast in 2011.

Burns is also a member of the Foundation for the National Archives' Board of Directors.

About the Foundation for the National Archives

The Foundation for the National Archives is an independent nonprofit that serves as the National Archives' private-sector partner in the creation of and ongoing support of the National Archives Experience, which includes permanent exhibits, educational programs, traveling exhibits, special events and film screenings, educational literature, and historical/records-related products and media. The Foundation helps the public understand the importance of the holdings of the National Archives by presenting the depth and diversity of the records through award-winning, interactive educational exhibits and programs. It generates financial and creative support for the National Archives Experience from individuals, foundations, and corporations who share a belief in the importance of innovative civics education.

About the National Archives Experience

The National Archives Experience, created by the National Archives in partnership with the Foundation for the National Archives, has transformed the visitor experience at the National Archives' Washington, DC building, and includes a renovated Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, the award-winning Public Vaults permanent interactive exhibition, the William G. McGowan Theater, the Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery for special exhibits, the Boeing Learning Center, and the Digital Vaults online exhibit. These components make the rich resources of the National Archives accessible to Americans nationwide.

SOURCE Foundation for the National Archives