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American Experience

American Experience
File:American Experience logo.svg
Created by Peter McGhee
Narrated by David McCullough
Theme music composer Charles Kuskin
Mark Adler
The Chambers Brothers
Joel Goodman
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 26
No. of episodes 303 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Judy Crichton
Margaret Drain
Mark Samels
Producer(s) Sharon Grimberg (Senior Producer)
Running time 55 minutes
Original channel PBS [2]
Original release October 4, 1988 (1988-10-04) – present
External links

American Experience is a television program airing on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) Public television stations in the United States. The program airs documentaries, many of which have won awards,[3] about important or interesting events and people in American history. A trademark of the series is its ability to take lesser-known events in history, such as the history of Coney Island or Tupperware, and expand on the topic, showing how that event reflected larger, more important themes in American culture or society.[citation needed]

The series premiered on October 4, 1988, and was originally titled The American Experience, although the article "The" was dropped during a later brand and image update. The show has had a presence on the Internet since 1995, and more than 100 American Experience programs are accompanied by their own websites, which have more background information on the subjects covered as well as teachers' guides.[4] The show is produced primarily by WGBH in Boston, Massachusetts, though occasionally in the early seasons of the show, it was co-produced by other PBS stations such as WNET in New York.

The documentaries are extensively researched,[citation needed] often taking years to complete.[citation needed] Some programs now considered part of the American Experience collection were produced prior to the creation of the series. Vietnam: A Television History was one of them, airing in 1983 after taking six years to assemble.[5] Also, in 2006, American Experience rebroadcast Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, the first half of the award-winning 1986 documentary about the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s and 1960s.


Several different topics have been touched in episodes of the series. Episodes of the series have been featured in online publications of The New York Times.[6][7]


  • 2011 Peabody Award Winner, Episodes: "Triangle Fire", "Freedom Riders" and "Stonewall Uprising"[8]
  • 2010 Peabody Award Winner, Episode: "My Lai"[9]
  • 2005 Peabody Award Winner, Episode: "Two Days in October"[10]
  • 2004 Peabody Award Winner, Episode: "Tupperware!"[11]
  • 2003 Peabody Award WInner, Episode: "The Murder of Emmett Till"[12]
  • 2002 Peabody Award Winner, Episode: "Monkey Trial" [13]
  • 1999 Peabody Award Winner, Episode: "Playing the China Card (Nixon's China Game)"[14]
  • 1998 Peabody Award Winner, Episode: "America 1900"[15]
  • 1998 Peabody Award Winner, Episode: "Riding the Rails"[16]


  1. ^ "David McCullough brings 'John Adams' to life". CNN. June 7, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Broadcast Schedule . American Experience . WGBH". PBS. Retrieved 2014-05-27. 
  3. ^ "About the Series . American Experience . WGBH". PBS. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  4. ^ "American Experience | Who We Are". PBS. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  5. ^ "American Experience | Vietnam Online | About the TV Series". PBS. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  6. ^ Mike Hale (April 30, 2012). "An Olympic Champion, a Symbol and an Awkward Partner With Fame". The New York Times. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  7. ^ Neil Genzlinger (February 27, 2012). "They’ve Got Cute Buggies and Kids, but Their Lives Aren’t Always Heavenly". The New York Times. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  8. ^ 71st Annual Peabody Awards, May 2012.
  9. ^ 70th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2011.
  10. ^ 65th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2006.
  11. ^ 64th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2005.
  12. ^ 63rd Annual Peabody Awards, May 2004.
  13. ^ 62nd Annual Peabody Awards, May 2003.
  14. ^ 59th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2000.
  15. ^ 58th Annual Peabody Awards, May 1999.
  16. ^ 58th Annual Peabody Awards, May 1999.

External links