Named in honor of America’s most revered visual historian and documentary filmmaker, the Ken Burns American Heritage Prize will recognize distinguished and visionary artists, authors, conservationists, educators, filmmakers, historians and scientists whose body of work has advanced our collective understanding of the indomitable American spirit. 



The recipient of the Ken Burns American Heritage Prize will be selected annually by the Prize’s National Jury, which is comprised of distinguished leaders who represent communities across the country and share a common appreciation of America’s heritage.

The Prize’s inaugural presentation event will be in New York City in the spring of 2017. The evening’s festivities will include remarks by Mr. Burns along with the Prize Recipient, the chair of the National Jury, and American Prairie Reserve president Sean Gerrity.

About Ken Burns

Ken Burns has been making documentary films for almost forty 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, including The Civil War; Baseball; Jazz; Statue of Liberty; Huey Long; Lewis and 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; and, most recently, Jackie Robinson.

Ken’s films have been honored with dozens of major awards, including fourteen Emmy Awards, two Grammy 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.

About American Prairie Reserve

American Prairie Reserve’s mission is to create the largest nature reserve in the continental United States, a spectacular refuge for people and wildlife preserved forever as part of America’s heritage.

Since its founding in 2001, American Prairie Reserve has grown to nearly 310,000 acres (roughly 500 square miles) in northeastern Montana, on which fences have been removed, natural wildlife habitats restored, a bison herd numbering more than 600 established and native vegetation returned. Migratory paths in Lewis and Clark country along the Missouri River are again attracting wildlife that once roamed freely throughout the West, signaling the progress of the restoration of America’s natural wilderness heritage — one that once captured the imagination of explorers the world over.

"I am so deeply honored to have American Prairie Reserve name its American Heritage Prize in my honor. The organization’s unprecedented vision — to build the largest park in the continental United States on the plains of northeastern Montana — is a true reflection of what lies at the heart of every American: The wish to leave this world better than we found it, to ensure that future generations can stand on our shoulders and make something even greater than we were able to make." - Ken Burns

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