Ken Burns, the documentarian behind PBS standards like “The Civil War,” “Baseball,” “Jazz” and the more recent “The Central Park Five,” has launched a new iPad app today covering over two centuries of American history through selected clips from his film library. You can find the Ken Burns App here — PBS and D.C. public television station WETA have also launched a revamped website dedicated to Burns’ more than 25 docs.
The Ken Burns App was conceived, directed and produced by Burns’ friend Don MacKinnon, with Florentine Films producer Sarah Botstein working with him to produce and curate content for the project. Burns contributed exclusive interviews and created six thematic playlists made up of scenes from his films to show how different themes shaped American history — Race, War, Innovation, Art, Hard Times and Politics.
“Our films are made in a small town in New Hampshire over many years, with images and stories woven together in a way that we hope brings experiences of the past into the present,” said Burns. “Working with some of the most talented people in tech today, we’ve tried to rethink how we can tell the story of America using our films and technology. The iPad app and the PBS website allow me to talk about and present my work in an entirely new way — one that reveals how my films interrelate. I could not be more excited by this opportunity to engage everyone through these ongoing, evolving platforms, using the flexibility of the digital world.”
There’s no charge to download the Ken Burns App, which contains free content, though there is a $9.99 fee to access all of the app’s content. Educators will be able to access the full app content at a discount, and the new Ken Burns website contains many resources for teachers, including more than 75 classroom lessons.
The next Burns film to premiere on PBS will be “The Address” on April 15th and “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” in September. Check out a clip about the new app below.