Ken Burns: Guest Curator for America 250

Ken Burns With Office Quilt Wide Fall 2018 Photo Credit Evan Barlow (1)


Ken Burns is adding a new title to his long list of credits: museum curator.

The acclaimed documentary filmmaker has been named guest curator at the Peoria Riverfront Museum for its upcoming major exhibition celebrating America's 250th birthday in 2026, also known as the semiquincentennial. The centerpiece of all of the museum’s semiquincentennial activities, the one-of-a-kind, original exhibition will feature the most important historical American objects of art, science, history, and achievement ever to be assembled in the greater Peoria area.

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Known to PBS audiences for decades, Ken Burns’ relationship with the greater Peoria community began in 2022, when the Peoria Riverfront Museum hosted thousands of visitors to see an exhibition of the filmmaker’s private quilt collection. Subsequently, under the direction of editor Laurie Baker and sponsorship of Flo and Sid Banwart, the museum produced Uncovered: The Ken Burns Collection, the first book published about his quilts.

"My relationship with the Peoria Riverfront Museum began when my personal collection of American quilts visited their museum. We share an enthusiasm for the many American stories that make us one," said Ken Burns. "It is exciting to be involved with this unique multidisciplinary museum as we use the stories of history to light the way to a brighter future."

Credited with nearly 40 documentary films on American subjects including the Civil War, jazz, baseball, and the national parks, Ken Burns is set to release a new series on the American Revolutionary War next year as the country begins to prepare for this historic anniversary.