Film Programs

Looking At: Jazz, America’s Art Form

Looking At: Jazz, America’s Art Form explores the cultural and social history of jazz as it developed as an art form invented in early 20th century America. It has evolved into an enduring expression of creativity and innovation. The history of jazz is much more than the history of an extraordinary musical genre — it is also the story of central social, political and cultural issues of the 20th century that continue to play a part in our fledgling 21st.

Format: DVD

The World War I Years: America Becomes a World Power

When war broke out in Europe in 1914 America was focused on its own concerns - managing its new wealth and addressing the urgent social problems of the time. Years of rapid industrial expansion had made America the world's most productive economic power, but it remained an insular nation in its relationship with the rest of the world.

Format: mixed DVD and VHS

From Rosie to Roosevelt: A Film History of Americans in World War II

Where were you in World War II?
Weekly film screenings, lectures, reading, and discussions will deepen participants' understanding of the history of World War II and the war's impact on our world today. Participants view award-winning documentary films, read from Studs Terkel's The Good War (the excellent oral history of people who served abroad and on the home front), and talk about how the experience that defined a generation still shapes lives today.

Format: VHS

Post-War Years, Cold War Fears: American Culture and Politics, 1946 - 1960

This documentary film, reading, and discussion series picks up America's story where "From Rosie to Roosevelt" leaves off. Exploring both the political and social history of the post-war period, "Post War Years" examines how America's new affluence, along with the demographic shift to the suburbs and a pent-up demand for goods and housing, combined to create a new consumer culture of the 1960's. The program will also investigate the origin and progression of the Cold War, the rise and fall of McCarthyism, the burgeoning of the civil rights movement, and the inception of modern feminism.

Format: VHS

The Sixties: A Film History of America's Decade of Crisis and Change

The decade of the 1960s was the most turbulent, perhaps the most memorable, and no doubt the most controversial in the twentieth century. The debate over its legacy has by no means been resolved; it continues to generate emotional reactions, an extraordinary mix of memories, and a wide range of interpretations as to its origins, content and consequences.

Format: VHS

Presidents, Politics & Power: American Presidents Who Shaped The 20th Century Film Viewing & Discussion Series

During the twentieth century the American presidency became the most powerful office in the world. The basis for the power inhered in the extraordinary natural wealth of the United States, in a dynamic economy that operated within an expanding free market, and in the vigorous entrepreneurial energy that those conditions encouraged. But these ingredients did not themselves constitute national power. It required the agency of strong national leadership to make the decisions and shape the policies that would transform the United States by century’s end from an insular, second-rate military entity to an indispensable world power. This series of presidential biographies on film engages the public in a study of the United States and its strongest leaders.

Format: DVD

Fast Forward: Science, Technology, and the Communication Revolution

This exciting series uses award-winning documentary films and text to involve the public in a study of the impact of science and technology in the 20th century. Programs focus on the rapid introduction of new communication technologies—the automobile, movies, radio, television, and the Internet—and on the astonishing impact that technological innovations have had on our work and home lives. We'll discuss how American society stimulated and encouraged technical change in communications and how these changes altered social, political, and economic patterns.

As Fast Forward so dramatically demonstrates, the 20th century, for all of its horrors (some of them, of course, a consequence of science and technology,) was an odyssey of science which really did deliver on its promise of a wonderful life, at least for those who could afford it.

Format: VHS

The Research Revolution: Science and the Shaping of Modern Life

The twentieth century has witnessed many extraordinary events and experiences, but none more significant than the pace of scientific discovery and technological transformation. Together they have fundamentally altered almost every aspect of life as it is lived. These rapid advances in scientific research and technological development threaten to outpace the understanding of many Americans. According to recent studies, only one in nine Americans feels sufficiently well informed about science and technology. An informed citizenry in a democracy such as the United States is obliged to examine and to discuss important research-inspired discoveries, and to assess how the world as a whole, and people as individuals, have changed as a result.

Format: VHS

Created Equal: America's Civil Rights Struggle

Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle brings four outstanding films on the long civil rights movement to communities across the United States. To mark the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the National Endowment for the Humanities developed Created Equal as a special initiative of the Endowment's Bridging Cultures initiative. The Created Equal series encourages communities across the country to revisit the history of civil rights in America and to reflect on the ideals of freedom and equality that have helped bridge deep racial and cultural divides in our civic life. Four outstanding documentary films, spanning the period from the 1830s to the 1960s, are the centerpiece of this series. Each of these films was supported by NEH, and each tells remarkable stories of individuals who challenged the social and legal status quo of deeply rooted institutions, from slavery to segregation.

Format: DVD