Explore 'How We Became America: The Untold Story' With Youth-Focused Civics & History Video Series
Mary Koik, (202) 367-1861 x7231
(Washington, D.C.) — With nearly 250 years of history from which to draw insight and inspiration, Americans increasingly are awakening to the truth that there’s far more detail and context to the story than what is captured in a typical textbook. That fuller narrative of how America was established as a grand experiment in representative democracy — freedoms hard-won on the battlefield and enshrined in our founding documents and civic infrastructure — is the subject of How We Became America: The Untold History. This new, 15-part video series created by the American Battlefield Trust in partnership with the Driving Force Institute for Public Engagement (DFI), will have episodes debuting weekly through Independence Day.
“History is full of elements woven together and intrinsically linked, making long ago events like the Revolutionary War and Constitutional Convention relevant today,” said American Battlefield Trust President David Duncan. “This series is designed to show how those threads connect in a compelling narrative, letting new generations see their lives and experiences reflected in events of the past.”
How We Became America: The Untold History is a 15-part project included within DFI’s larger Untold initiative, which is produced and distributed by Makematic and the University of Southern California’s Center for Engagement-Driven Global Education (EDGE). How We Became America is filled with eye-catching animation based on iconic period images, plus a slightly irreverent attitude designed to show that history is dynamic.
“The philosophy behind Untold is that not everything worth knowing exists inside the cover of our history textbooks,” said Patrick Riccards, founder and chief executive officer of DFI. “There is so much more to the story — details that fill in the gaps and nuance that brings people of the past to life. It is our honor to work with organizations like the Trust, that represent differing eras and specialties but share that fundamental vision.”
“Untold is a powerful vehicle because video is such a compelling and natural educational tool. Our digital animation breathes new life into old artwork to help tell these important stories of our history,” said Mark Nagurski, co-founder of Makematic.
Each installment of How We Became America: The Untold History runs about two minutes, a quick take that makes them ideal for classroom or online consumption. The first five are now available at www.battlefields.org/untold; a new episode will arrive each Tuesday through Independence Day
That timeframe corresponds with the inaugural Civic Season, an initiative of Made By Us, a collaboration among more than 100 of the nation’s leading history museums and civic institutions, of which the Trust is an anchor partner. This national initiative, beginning in June and running through Independence Day, invites all to participate in shaping a new tradition that goes beyond fireworks and hot dogs to connect people with past, present and future — through live events, digital media projects, activities and service. Conversations about the resonance of our past are at the heart of the forthcoming commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the United States’ founding in 2026.
“The past year’s challenges revealed our interdependence, spotlighted our deficits, and drove a groundswell of interest in America’s future,” said Caroline Klibanoff, managing director of Made By Us, based out of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. “Through Civic Season’s powerful shared experiences, we can expand the dialogue around the impact that history has on all aspects of our lives.”
The American Battlefield Trust is committed to educating the public about the first hundred years of American history and why those events, both on and off the battlefield, matter today. Primary sources — from foundational documents and famous speeches to letters and diaries or even photographs and sketches made by participants — are important tools in this process that allow modern audiences to think critically about the intentions and motivations of our predecessors. Learn more about Trust education programs at http://www.battlefields.org/learn.
The American Battlefield Trust is dedicated to preserving America’s hallowed battlegrounds and educating the public about what happened there and why it matters today. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has protected more than 53,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War. Learn more at www.battlefields.org.