Ben Franklin

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About the Program

Ken Burns's two-part, four-hour documentary, Benjamin Franklin, explores the revolutionary life of one of the 18th century's most consequential and compelling personalities, whose work and words unlocked the mystery of electricity and helped create the United States. Franklin's 84 years (1706-1790) spanned an epoch of momentous change in science, technology, literature, politics, and government — fields he himself advanced through a lifelong commitment to societal and self-improvement.



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Conversations on Franklin

PBS will host a series of 4 virtual, hour-long discussions with Ken Burns and special guests, featuring clips from the two-part series, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. The events are FREE and open to the public! Join the conversation on social media with #BenFranklinPBS


Conversations on Ben Franklin Serries

March 3 at 7:00pm

"Franklin and Writing"

With Ken Burns; Christopher Brown, Professor of History, Columbia University; and Jane Kamensky, Professor of History, Harvard University. Moderated by Bina Venkataraman, Editor-at-Large, The Boston Globe.

Presented by GBH, Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, and The Boston Globe

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Conversations on Ben Franklin Serries

March 8 at 7:00pm

"Franklin and Innovation"

With Ken Burns; Walter Isaacson, author of "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life;" and Stacy Schiff, author of "A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America." Moderated by Stephanie Mehta, Chief Content Officer, Mansueto.

Presented by The WNET Group, Fast Company and Inc.

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Conversations on Ben Franklin Serries

March 23 at 7:00pm

"Franklin and Diplomacy"

With Ken Burns; Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; and Nicholas Burns, Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China. Moderated by Judy Woodruff, PBS NewsHour.

Presented by WETA, Georgetown University and The Better Angels Society

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Conversations on Ben Franklin Serries

March 29 at 7:00pm

"Franklin and Revolution"

With Ken Burns; Walter Isaacson, author of "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life;" and Erica Dunbar, Professor of History, Rutgers University. Moderated by Marty Moss-Coane (she/her), Host and Executive Producer of "Radio Times" on WHYY.

Presented by WHYY

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Presented in Partnership with

  • Erie County Public Library
  • Iroquois School District
  • PACA - Performing Artists Collective Alliance


Corporate funding for BENJAMIN FRANKLIN was provided by Bank of America. Major funding was provided by David M. Rubenstein. Major funding was also provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and by The Better Angels Society and its members Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine; University of Pennsylvania; Gilchrist and Amy Berg; Perry and Donna Golkin; Kissick Family Foundation; Deborah and Jon Dawson; Diane and Hal Brierley; McCloskey Family Charitable Trust; Cappy and Janie McGarr; Lavender Butterfly Fund; and Susan and Charles Shanor Charitable Trust. And by viewers like you.