May 15, 2007 Veterans History Project Launches Field Kit, Web Resource

Section to Support Mass Outreach Campaign for Ken Burns' "The War"

Press Contact: Jeffrey Lofton (202) 707-6432; Jessica Maccaro (202) 707-9822
Public Contact: Veterans History Project (202) 707-4916

To support the recently announced initiative by the Library of Congress, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and Ken Burns to collect oral histories of America’s World War II veterans, the Library of Congress Veterans History Project has produced new resources to help the public learn about and participate in the effort.

A new section on the Veterans History Project Web site,, features background on Ken Burns’ upcoming film “The War” and details on how to support the campaign. The section will be updated continually with event listings and related information. In addition, a newly revised and updated Veterans History Project field kit provides step-by-step instructions on collecting and preserving veterans' stories.

In April, the Library of Congress and PBS announced a joint community engagement initiative designed to gather the first-hand recollections of the diverse group of men and women who served America during wartime. The public outreach campaign began this spring and will continue beyond the broadcast of “The War,” which is scheduled to air on PBS beginning on Sept. 23, 2007.

The Veterans History Project Web site section and revised field kit are just two of several resources supporting the campaign. WETA Washington, D.C., and the Veterans History Project have developed a WETA field guide with a “how-to” conduct an oral history interview, which includes pointers from Burns and co-director/producer Lynn Novick on lighting and shooting the video. Additional information provides directions on how to send recorded interviews to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which has provided funding for this joint initiative, is also supporting an enormous community engagement campaign for “The War,” involving more than 100 public television stations nationwide that will reach out to a broad range of veterans and their families and friends to capture the stories that make up the rich mosaic of America. Public television stations will target thousands of individual stories to be shared locally on-air, online and through community events and activities. For more information, visit

The Veterans History Project, a major program of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center, is an oral history program created by Congress in 2000. The Project depends on volunteer interviewers—family and friends of veterans, communities and a wide variety of organizations—to record the one-of-a-kind interviews of wartime veterans and send them to the Project, where they are housed in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress. To date, the Project has collected more than 50,000 individual stories. Summaries of contributors’ service can be viewed online at To become involved, download a new Veterans History Project field kit from the Veterans History Project Web site, request the kit via e-mail at or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848.

WETA Washington, D.C., is the third-largest producing station in the public television system and the flagship public broadcaster in the nation’s capital. WETA productions and co-productions include “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” “Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal,” “America at a Crossroads,” “American Valor,” “Reporting America at War” and other documentaries by Burns, including “The Civil War.” Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO. For more information on WETA and its programs, visit the Web site at

Corporate funding for the outreach initiative is provided by General Motors and Anheuser-Busch. Major funding is provided by Lilly Endowment, Inc.; Public Television Viewers and PBS; National Endowment for the Humanities; Corporation for Public Broadcasting; and The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. Additional funding is provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts; The Longaberger Foundation; and Park Foundation, Inc.


PR 07-108
ISSN 0731-3527