The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War is a groundbreaking ten-part, eighteen-hour documentary series that tells the story of one of the most divisive and consequential events in American history as it has never before been told. This epic and immersive 360-degree narrative is built around wrenching interviews with nearly one hundred witnesses from all sides of the conflict: combatant and civilian, American and Vietnamese. Their stories are brought viscerally to life with archival footage and photographs from around the globe, and are intertwined with historic presidential audio recordings and television news broadcasts, all accompanied by an evocative soundtrack of some of the greatest popular music of this tumultuous era.

Directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, written by Geoffrey C. Ward, and produced by Sarah Botstein, Lynn Novick, and Ken Burns.

Funding Opportunity:

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial: Finding Memory and Meaning

A virtual field trip with Ken Burns

Last year, The Vietnam Veterans Memorial welcomed 5.5 million visitors, including thousands of students and teachers, the highest rate in its visitation history. Working in partnership with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF), the founders of the Wall, WETA will create and produce a multi-level interactive tour of the site designed to prepare students for a live visit and serve as a virtual visit for those who cannot travel to Washington, DC.

The virtual experience, Memory and Meaning, will be created as part of the broad educational engagement initiative around the new film THE VIETNAM WAR from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. The film, a ten-part, 18-hour documentary film series tells the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never before been told on film. The film features testimony from nearly 100 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides.

Memory and Meaning will be a streamed event broadcast LIVE to thousands of high schools in the fall of 2017 and will be recorded, edited and made widely available to teachers so that they can use the virtual field trip directly in the classroom for years to come.  The tour will use Burns’s unique approach to storytelling from the “bottom up” to share new insights and challenges assumptions about the Vietnam War while reflecting on the personal narratives of veterans and other citizens affected by the conflict – engaging students through critical inquiry-based learning.  The immersive experience will bring the wall to life for students and be created to allow teachers to pause the tour at multiple teaching points.  Each point will be enhanced with video and other assets from Burns’s film along with discussion guides, learning activities, and infographics, and will be completely aligned to US History and World History curriculum as well as common core standards. 

Budget: $200,000