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Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns will receive the Gerry Lenfest Spirit of the American Revolution Award in a ceremony at Philadelphia's Museum of the American Revolution on Thursday, April 11, 2019 at 7 p.m. Through more than four decades of masterful storytelling, Burns has illuminated the people, places, and events that shaped our nation’s history and the bold American spirit at its core. 

The event marks the second time the Museum has presented the Lenfest Award. The inaugural award was presented to Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough in September 2016.

“Gerry and Marguerite’s generosity knew no bounds – they helped make this Museum a reality – but Gerry wanted to do more than that, so he created and endowed this award,” said Governor Edward G. Rendell, Museum Board Member. “This award is presented to Americans who are living embodiments of the spirit that made this country great. That spirit lived in Gerry and it lives on in Ken Burns. We’re thrilled to be able to honor them both in this way.”

The gala will include a cocktail reception and dinner, followed by the awards ceremony.

The award will be presented by Marguerite Lenfest, along with Museum Chairman General John Jumper and Museum President and CEO Dr. R. Scott Stephenson. Following the presentation, Burns will be joined onstage by Simone Cruice-Barnett, a junior at Philadelphia’s Science Leadership Academy, for a conversation about Burns’s career and the power of storytelling through film.

Individual tickets and table seatings are available for purchase here. Proceeds benefit the Museum’s important educational mission. The event is sponsored by Bank of America.

The event is chaired by Museum Board Member Martha McGeary Snider with co-chairs John Jumper, James F. Dever, Jr., John Aglialoro, Karen Dougherty Buchholz, Alan B. Miller, Morris W. Offit and Stephen SchwabMarguerite Lenfest and Governor Edward G. Rendell served as honorary chairs.

The Museum’s Chairman Emeritus H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest, who passed away in August 2018, created and endowed 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.

About Ken Burns
Ken Burns has been making documentary films for over forty years. Since the Academy Award nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, he has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made, including The Civil War; Baseball; Jazz; The Statue of Liberty; Huey Long; Lewis & 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; Jackie Robinson; Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War; The Vietnam War; and, most recently, The Mayo Clinic: Faith – Hope – Science.

Future film projects include Country Music, Ernest Hemingway, Muhammad Ali, The Holocaust & the United States, Benjamin Franklin, Lyndon B. Johnson, The American Buffalo, Leonardo da Vinci, the American Revolution, the history of Crime and Punishment in America, the history of Reconstruction, and Winston Churchill, among others.

Burns’s films have been honored with dozens of major awards, including 16 Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards and two Oscar nominations; and in September of 2008, at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, Burns was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

About Bank of America
At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at and connect with us on Twitter at @BofA_News.

About Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution explores the dramatic, surprising story of the American Revolution through its unmatched collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, documents, and works of art. Immersive galleries, powerful theater experiences, and interactive digital elements bring to life the diverse array of people who created a new nation against incredible odds. Visitors gain a deeper appreciation for how this nation came to be and feel inspired to consider their role in the ongoing promise of the American Revolution. Located just steps away from Independence Hall, the Museum serves as a portal to the region’s many Revolutionary sites, sparking interest, providing context, and encouraging exploration. The Museum, which opened on April 19, 2017, is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization. For more information, visit or call 877.740.1776.