October 10, 2018

Acclaimed Filmmaker Ken Burns to Receive “Gerry Lenfest Spirit of the American Revolution Award” in April 2019

Award Honors His Lifetime of Work Advancing Understanding of Our Nation’s History and Revolutionary Spirit

The Museum of the American Revolution today announced that acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns will receive the Gerry Lenfest Spirit of the American Revolution Award in April 2019. Through more than four decades of masterful storytelling, Burns has illuminated the people, places, and events that shaped our nation’s history and the bold American spirit at its core. 

Credit Tim Llewellyn Photography
Credit Tim Llewellyn Photography

Burns will be presented with an engraved medal and $25,000 prize at a private event at the Museum on April 11, 2019. The inaugural Lenfest Award was presented to Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough in September 2016.

“Known as ‘America’s Storyteller,’ Mr. Burns’s lifetime of work has inspired millions, from all ages and all walks of life, to learn more about our nation’s complex and dramatic history, emotionally connecting us to our nation through the artistry of his informative storytelling,” said General John P. Jumper, Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Directors and Acting President and CEO. “We are honored to carry forward the legacy of our Chairman Emeritus Gerry Lenfest through this award celebrating the bold spirit of the American Revolution – a spirit that Gerry himself embodied.”

The Museum’s Chairman Emeritus H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest, who passed away in August 2018, created the award to recognize distinguished and significant achievement in advancing public awareness and understanding of history and of its relevance in the ongoing American experiment. The Lenfest Award is presented on a semi-regular basis and may be given to an individual or to an organization active in a broad range of fields such as history, education, film-making, writing, media, and philanthropy.

Ken Burns has been making documentary films for over forty years. Since the Academy Award nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, he has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made, including The Civil War; Baseball; Jazz; The Statue of Liberty; Huey Long; Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery; Frank Lloyd Wright; Mark Twain; Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson; The War; The National Parks: America’s Best Idea; The Roosevelts: An Intimate History; Jackie Robinson; Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War; The Vietnam War; and, most recently, The Mayo Clinic: Faith – Hope – Science.

Future film projects include Country Music, Ernest Hemingway, Muhammad Ali, The Holocaust & the United States, Benjamin Franklin, Lyndon B. Johnson, The American Buffalo, Leonardo da Vinci, the American Revolution, the history of Crime and Punishment in America, the history of Reconstruction, and Winston Churchill, among others.

Burns’ films have been honored with dozens of major awards, including fifteen Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards and two Oscar nominations; and in September of 2008, at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, Burns was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

About Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution explores the dramatic, surprising story of the American Revolution through its unmatched collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, documents, and works of art. Immersive galleries, powerful theater experiences, and interactive digital elements bring to life the diverse array of people who created a new nation against incredible odds. Visitors gain a deeper appreciation for how this nation came to be and feel inspired to consider their role in the ongoing promise of the American Revolution. Located just steps away from Independence Hall, the Museum serves as a portal to the region’s many Revolutionary sites, sparking interest, providing context, and encouraging exploration. The Museum, which opened on April 19, 2017, is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization. For more information, visit www.AmRevMuseum.org or call 877.740.1776.