Steamtown NHS to Screen Ken Burns 'The National Parks: This is America' Film

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Date: August 17, 2009

The National Parks: This is America poster

SCRANTON, PA – Steamtown National Historic Site, in partnership with regional PBS affiliate WVIA, will screen the film, "The National Parks: This is America," on Saturday, September 19 and Sunday, September 20. The special 45-minute screenings will be shown on both days in the Park's Theater at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.

"The National Parks: This Is America" tells the story of the national park idea through the prism of our nation’s diverse population, weaving together stories of extraordinary people from a wide variety of backgrounds who devoted their lives to the national park ideal—to preserve and protect these special places for everyone, for all time—and helped it broaden and evolve over the course of 150 years. 


The film is a prequel to the 6-part, 12-hour documentary, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea" which is scheduled to debut on public television on September 27 (check local listings). This documentary series, by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan, tells the story of an idea as uniquely American as the Declaration of Independence and just as radical: that the most special places in the nation should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone.  From Acadia to Yosemite, Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon, the Everglades of Florida to the Gates of the Arctic in Alaska, the series explores the stories of people, from every conceivable background, who were willing to devote themselves to saving some precious portion of the land they loved, and in doing so, reminded their fellow citizens of the full meaning of democracy.


Ken Burns has been making films for more than thirty years. Since the Academy Award nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, Ken has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made. The late historian Stephen Ambrose said of his films, "More Americans get their history from Ken Burns than any other source." A December 2002 poll conducted by Real Screen Magazine listed The Civil War as second only to Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North as the "most influential documentary of all time," and named Ken Burns and Robert Flaherty as the "most influential documentary makers" of all time. Ken's films have won ten Emmy Awards and two Oscar nominations, and in September of 2008, at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, Ken was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. Burns credits include: The Civil War (1990), Baseball (1994), Mark Twain (2001), Jazz (2001), and The War (2007). More information about the National Parks documentary project is available at and


Located in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Steamtown is open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. From I-81, follow exit 185 (Central Scranton Expressway); then, follow the signs to the main entrance at Lackawanna and Cliff Avenues.  Additional details regarding interpretive and educational programs and activities may be obtained by calling (570) 340-5200 or toll free (888) 693-9391 during business hours, or by visiting the Steamtown web site anytime at



Last updated: February 26, 2015

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