More than 100 Brooklynites got a chance to spend an evening with Academy Award-nominated producer and director Ken Burns at the fundraiser for the Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) on Tuesday night.
“Ken was incredibly generous in offering to do this for us as a fundraising event for our education programs,” said Deborah Schwartz, president of BHS. “He really personifies the popularizing and the real significance of American history in an accessible form. There is nobody who does it better than Ken Burns.”
The creator of acclaimed documentaries “The Civil War,” “Baseball” and “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” had a conversation with moderator Randy Kennedy, a New York Times columnist, and afterward the audience got a chance to pick Burns’ brain.
“It’s a marvelous fit for us, and not to mention the fact that one of his first projects is about the Brooklyn Bridge, and he’s currently working on a project about Jackie Robinson,” Schwartz said. “So there is this incredible synergy, and he was also born in Brooklyn.”
Fundraisers only account for a small percentage of the historical society’s annual budget, but Schwartz added that they are still integral toward running the BHS. Money from this event goes toward education programs and, in particular, its free school tours it provides to public school children from the area.
“He was very generous in offering to help support our programs,” Schwartz said of Burns. “We pride ourselves at this point in doing lots of public programs, where there is an opportunity for our audience to ask questions and be in dialogue with the people who are presenting.”