Ken Burns Profile Photo

Ken Burns

Keynote Speaker

Historian and Award-Winning Filmmaker

One of the most recognizable and popular documentary filmmakers of our time, Ken Burns chronicles those aspects of U.S. history that make us uniquely American.

Request Availability

Ken Burns'S SPEAKING FEE Over $70,000

Ken Burns Profile Photo

Ken Burns'S SPEAKING FEE Over $70,000

Ken Burns has been making documentary films for over forty years.  Since the Academy Award-nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, Ken has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made, including The Civil War; Baseball; Jazz; The War; The National Parks:  America’s Best Idea; Prohibition; The Roosevelts:  An Intimate History; The Vietnam War; Country Music; and, most recently, The U.S. and the Holocaust.

A December 2002 poll conducted by Real Screen Magazine listed The Civil War as second only to Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North as the “most influential documentary of all time,” and named Ken Burns and Robert Flaherty as the “most influential documentary makers” of all time. In March 2009, David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun said, “… Burns is not only the greatest documentarian of the day but also the most influential filmmaker period. That includes feature filmmakers like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.  I say that because Burns not only turned millions of persons onto history with his films, he showed us a new way of looking at our collective past and ourselves.” The late historian Stephen Ambrose said of his films, “More Americans get their history from Ken Burns than any other source.”  And Wynton Marsalis has called Ken “a master of timing, and of knowing the sweet spot of a story, of how to ask questions to get to the basic human feeling and to draw out the true spirit of a given subject.”  

Future film projects include The American Buffalo, Leonardo da Vinci, The American RevolutionEmancipation to Exodus, and LBJ & the Great Society, among others.

Ken’s films have been honored with dozens of major awards, including sixteen Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards, and two Oscar nominations.  In September of 2008, at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, Ken was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award.  In November of 2022, Ken was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.

Featured Videos

Ken Burns Profile Photo
Ken Burns
TODAY: Ken Burns, Tom Brokaw Talk About ‘Mayo Clinic’ Documentary
Ken Burns Profile Photo
Ken Burns
PBS News: Why America is still raw over the Vietnam War

Ken Burns’s Speech Topics

  • Presentations by Ken Burns

    In addition to offering a conversational format — where Ken responds to questions from a moderator on his life’s work, issues in history, or contemporary American culture — the following keynotes are available. Audience Q&A optional for all formats.

    • Old Ghosts and Ancient Tones (Country Music)
    • A History of the World (The Vietnam War)
    • The Rising Road (The Roosevelts: An Intimate History)
    • A Treasure House of Nature’s Superlatives (The National Parks: America’s Best Idea)
    • Sharing the American Experience (The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz)
    • No Ordinary Lives (The War) topic World War II
    • Mystic Chords of Memory (The Civil War)
    • American Lives (combination of selected biographical films: Jackie Robinson, Mark Twain, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, Frank Lloyd Wright, Lewis and Clark, Thomas Jefferson.)

What other organizations say about Ken Burns

Ken was one of the nicest speakers we’ve ever had. He was very easy to work with and spent a gracious amount of time with anyone who asked. He was very well received at the event, reception and book signing. All were well attended.

Universities & Colleges

Works by Ken Burns


Tell us about your event and the speaker you are interested in booking and we will be in touch right away.