Powder Horn

Gerry Lenfest Spirit of the American Revolution

On April 11, 2019, the Museum presented Ken Burns with the Gerry Lenfest Spirit of the American Revolution Award. Known as ‘America’s Storyteller,’ Ken Burns’ lifetime of work has inspired millions, from all ages and all walks of life, to learn more about our nation’s complex and dramatic history, emotionally connecting us to our nation through the artistry of his informative storytelling.

Burns was presented with the medal and a $25,000 prize at a private event and dinner at the Museum during the evening of April 11, 2019. The inaugural Lenfest Award was presented to Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough in September 2016.

"Perseverance and Spirit have done Wonders in all ages.”

General George Washington, 1775

2019 Recipient – KEN BURNS

Credit Tim Llewellyn Photography
Credit Tim Llewellyn Photography

Ken Burns has been making documentary films for over forty years and has directed and produced some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made, including major multi-part series on the Civil War, the Second World War, and the Vietnam War. Future projects include films on the American Revolution, the Civil Rights era, and the history of Reconstruction, among numerous others.

Burns’ films have been honored with dozens of major awards, including fifteen Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards, and two Oscar nominations. In September of 2008, Ken was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Proceeds benefit the Museum’s important educational mission.

Presented by:


About the Award

The Museum’s Chairman Emeritus H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest, who passed away in August 2018, created the award to recognize distinguished and significant achievement in advancing public awareness and understanding of history and of its relevance in the ongoing American experiment. The Lenfest Award is presented on a semi-regular basis and may be given to an individual or to an organization active in a broad range of fields such as history, education, film-making, writing, media, and philanthropy.