History Videos

American Frontier I

16 programs - 120 min. total; 6-12; History; Pacific Mountain Network (1985)

American Frontier I is a series of short vignettes depicting the colorful legends and history of the old West, as well as its important characters and events. Each lesson is designed to teach something new about our history and the pioneers.

  1. Joaquin Murrieta
  2. James Hume
  3. Bat Masterson
  4. Shoot Out at the OK Corral
  5. The Bird Cage Theatre
  6. Piper's Opera House
  7. Lola & Lotta
  8. Mark Twain
  9. Lillie Hitchcock Coit
  10. James Marshall
  11. John Sutter
  12. Nellie Cashman
  13. The Comstock Lode
  14. Tent Cities
  15. The Chinese Workers
  16. The Golden Spike

American Frontier II

20 programs - 120 min. total; 6-12; History; Pacific Mountain Network (1987)

Beginning with the first American frontier, Jamestown, Virginia, and moving west to California and north to Canada, Charlie Jones and Merlin Olsen go on location to explore America's historical development.

  1. Jamestown
  2. Three Ships Sailing Into History
  3. Jamestown Churches
  4. Juan Cabrillo
  5. Mission San Diego
  6. Fort Smith
  7. Handcart Companies
  8. Donner Party
  9. Sequoya
  10. "Hanging Judge" Parker
  11. Horace Greeley
  12. Central City Opera House
  13. The "Unsinkable" Molly Brown
  14. The Tabors of Colorado
  15. Central City
  16. Hotel de Paris
  17. Belle Starr
  18. "Snowshoe" Thomson
  19. The Canadian Connection
  20. The Canadian Gold Rush

American Frontier II (edited)

5 programs - 15 min. each; 6-12; History; Pacific Mountain Network (1988)

Selected from the original 20 vignettes of American Frontier II, these five programs are designed to highlight unique aspects of the American frontier. They portray some of the most colorful places, characters, and events which endure as frontier legends. The series is co-hosted by Charlie Jones and Merlin Olsen.

  1. Horace Greeley/Central City/Central City Opera
  2. Fort Smith/"Hanging Judge" Parker
  3. The Donner Part/"Snowshoe" Thomson
  4. The Tabors of Colorado/The "Unsinkable" Molly Brown
  5. The Handcart Companies/Mission San Diego

Constitution (The)

6 - 15 min. programs; 1-8; Government, History; International Telecommunication Services (1989)

Objectives: To inform students of the process used to develop the United States Constitution. To explain how the constitution relates to the office of the president, congress, Supreme Court. To identify and explain The Bill of Rights and other amendments as well as the amendment process. Pioneer Pete serves as host to introduce the Colonial Pettijohns family. The Pettijohns attempt to develop a family government based on the U.S. Constitution based on what they have heard about the development and ratification of the U.S. Constitution. As family problems arise, they are related to the president, congress, Bill of Rights, amendments and the Supreme Court and the role they played in the development and ratification of the U.S. Constitution. The talent in all programs is the Hastey Pudding Puppet Co., the same talent used in FEATHERBY'S FABLES.

  1. The Birth of the Constitution
  2. The Presidency
  3. The Congress
  4. The Supreme Court
  5. The Bill of Rights
  6. The Amendments

Dawn of America

45 min.; 7-12; History, Maine Studies; Produced by: Foster Films (1971)

This program, produced in celebration of Maine's sesquicentennial year, relates with graphic illustrations and still photographs the history of Maine from its discovery. The program also explores the role Maine has played in the nation's development.

Diplomacy at Work: America's Stake in the Future

15 min.; 7-12; Government, History; Distributed by: US Dept. of State (1987)

A look at the day to day operations of the agencies of the US Dept of State.

Equal Justice Under the Law

6 programs - 30 min. each; 9-12; Criminal Justice, History; Distributed by: Public Broadcasting System (1986)

Equal Justice Under The Law dramatizes four famous John Marshall trials. As Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1801-1835, he led the Court at a time when history was just beginning for the United States; and his compelling logic and far-sighted opinions shaped the course of America.

  1. Marbury vs. Madison
  2. McCulloch vs. Maryland
  3. Gibbons vs. Ogden
  4. The Trial of Aaron Burr, Pt 1
  5. The Trial of Aaron Burr, Pt. 2
  6. The Trial of Aaron Burr, Pt. 3

Europe & America

30 min.; 9-12; Foreign Countries, History; Produced by: NATO (1981)

The history of the United States from pre-Revolutionary days to the present and events which led to the development of foreign policy, NATO, and the Marshall Plan. Narrated by Anthony Quayle.

Flowing Past: Maine's Kennebec and Dead Rivers

9-12; Energy Use & Conservation, Environment, History, Maine Studies, Native Americans; Maine Public Television, Lewiston, ME (2003)

Examines the histories of the Kennebec and Dead Rivers. Topics covered: Native American Life; The Popham Colony; Shipbuilding; Logging; Transportation; Benedict Arnold's March to Quebec; Ice Harvest; Paper Industry; Hydroelectric Power; White Water Rafting.

Heritage 350

120 min.; K-12; History, Maine Studies; Produced by: WGAN-TV (1982)

A series of historical vignettes celebrating the 350th birthday of Greater Portland, narrated by Jim Brunelle. A list of the vignettes is available upon request.

History of Space Travel

13 programs - 30 min. each; 7-12; History, Space; Produced by: National Aeronautics & Space Administration (1983)

America's history of space flight from rocketry pioneer, Dr. Robert Goddard, through America's first reusable spaceship, the Space Shuttle, is depicted.

  1. Space Shuttle Overview 1980
  2. Before Saturn & America In Space
  3. Astronauts: United States Project Mercury
  4. Freedom 7
  5. Friendship 7, Pt. 1
  6. Friendship 7, Pt. 2
  7. Your Share In Space
  8. Legacy Of Gemini
  9. Debrief: Apollo 8
  10. Eagle Has Landed: The Flight Of Apollo 11
  11. Apollo 16: Nothing So Hidden
  12. Four Rooms, Earth View
  13. Mission Of Apollo/Soyuz

Home: The Story of Maine

7 programs - 30 min. each; 9-12; Environment, History, Maine Studies, Social Studies; Produced by: Maine Public Television

HOME: The Story of Maine explores the unique heritage of Maine through an on-going series that documents the state's rich history.

  1. A Place Apart (The image of Maine)
  2. A Part of the Main (European Settlement and natural resources
  3. They Came By Sea
  4. A Love for the Land (Agriculture)
  5. The Nation's Playground (Tourism)
  6. Trails, Rails & Roads (Transportation)
  7. Power Lines (Electricity)
  8. People of the Dawn (Native Americans)
  9. Rolling Back the Frontier (1600's)
  10. The Frontier Wars
  11. The Penobscot Expedition and the Revolution
  12. Land of Liberty
  13. Struggle for Identity

Ice Age in Maine

30 min.; 7-12; Environment, Geology, Maine Studies; Produced by: Maine Geological Survey (1992)

Documents the ice age in Maine and shows the various geological formations left behind by the glaciers.

Last Log Drive

30 min.; 7-12; Forests & Forestry, History, Maine Studies; Produced by: Maine Public Broadcasting (1977)

The last logs transported by the Kennebec River moved down Wyman Lake to the Wyman Dam Sluiceway in September, 1976. By October 1, the Kennebec River flowed free of logs for the first time in 150 years and the change from waterway to roadway had been made.

Maine Art Museum Trail

4 programs - 30 min. each ; 6-12 ; Art/Fine Arts; History; Maine Studies ; MPBN, Lewiston , ME (2004)

Since the 1800's, the splendor of Maine has provided inspiration to many of America 's most important artists, including Winslow homer, Edward Hopper, Louise Nevelson, Berenice Abbott, and three generations of Wyeths. To showcase the magnificent art that is Maine 's heritage, seven Maine art museums have collaborated to create the Maine Art Museum Trail, bringing stories and collections of Maine art museums.

  1. Bowdoin College Museum of Art
  2. Farnsworth Art Museum
  3. The Ogunquit Museum of American Art
  4. The University of Maine Museum of Art
  5. Portland Museum of Art
  6. Bates College Museum of Art
  7. Colby College Museum of Art


20 min.; 7-12; Foreign Countries, Government; Distributed by: US Dept. of State (1987)

A brief look at the 35 year history of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Night Portland Burned (The)

30 min.; 7-12; History, Maine Studies; Produced by: WCSH-TV (1976)

Historical report on the July 4, 1866 fire in Portland, Maine.

Norse Coin

30 min.; 9-12; Archaeology, History, Maine Studies; Produced by: Maine Public Broadcasting (1981)

The Norse Coin, taped at the excavation site near Blue Hill, Maine, and at the Maine State Museum in Augusta, examines the validity of the now famous Norse coin and theorizes on how it made its way to Maine.

Penobscot: The Battle No One Ever Heard of

30 min.; 9-12; History, Maine Studies; Produced by: Maine Public Broadcasting Network, Orono, ME (1980)

The Battle of the Penobscot (1779) has been described as the worst defeat (save Pearl Harbor) our navy has ever suffered. This program about the Penobscot Expedition is an account of the expedition and the historical events surrounding it, and a report on the reenactment of the battle which was staged as a Bicentennial celebration.

Portrait of America

11 programs - 50 min. each; 3-12; Art, Economics, History, Language Arts; Produced by: Turner Broadcasting (1986)

Filmed on location and narrated by Hal Holbrook, these award-winning programs tell the story of America through the positive contributions of its people. Each program is divided into five segments which may be shown as an entire state or viewed by the social concepts developed such as leadership, politics, conservation, economics, cultures and neighborhoods.

  1. Arizona
  2. Connecticut
  3. Florida
  4. Hawaii
  5. Louisiana
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. Rhode Island
  9. Texas
  10. Vermont
  11. Washington, DC

Portraits: The Americans

12 - 15 min. programs; 4-8; Art, History, Language Arts; International Telecommunication Services (1997)

American history and literature are filled with stories of individuals who have made a difference to the nation, their communities and, in many instances, the world at large. In addition to noted historical figures such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Betsy Ross and Thomas Jefferson, there are many, many people whose personal stories enrich our understanding of human nature, democracy, the physical world, the rights of common people and the ability of one person to make a difference. Portraits: The Americans, tells these stories by combining history, literature, music and art with surfing the Internet and video production. John Robbins - host, narrator and producer - is joined by students Shamis Beckley and Dwayne Nitz while they create portraits of famous and not-so-famous historical figures. The stories of these figures introduce entire units of study and unlock studentscuriosity about such topics as the American Revolution, westward expansion, natural history and conservation. Designed to instill good reporting skills as well as educate, Portraits demonstrates the joy of discovery. Each biography begins with a timeline illustrating dances, topics, food and favorite sports figures of the day. The unfolding of the subject's life story parallels the development of the portrait, executed in a manner to convey the spirit of the individual. Enlightened narration combined with information extracted from other media and locations evokes people, places or moments in American history. The program ends with a completed portrait.

  1. John James Audubon - John James Audubon (1785-1851) came from France to live in America at age 18. Enthralled by American birds, he was determined to paint each species life-size. At the time, his drawings were unappreciated in America, but he found fame in England where Robert Havell faithfully engraved and hand colored each of his bird portraits and published four substantial volumes of Audubon's art.
  2. Elizabeth Blackwell - Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) was America's first female doctor. She came from England at age 10 and at 28 graduated from Geneva (NY) College of Medicine. After practicing briefly in Paris and London, she returned to New York City where she and her sister founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children in 1853.
  3. Buffalo Bill - Buffalo Bill's (1846-1917) real name was William Frederick Cody. He was a scout for the Union before and during the Civil War. He acquired his nickname through his business of supplying buffalo meat to workers on the Kansas railroad. With legendary marksman and riding skills, he formed the immensely popular Wild West Extravaganza in 1883 that toured America and Europe for 30 years.
  4. Annie Oakley - Annie Oakley (1860-1926) was born in Ohio as Phoebe Ann Moses. At age 12, she helped support her family by supplying game birds to a Cincinnati restaurant. In her teens, she was discovered by Buffalo Bill and became one of his featured performers. She was first woman to hold the undisputed title of world's greatest sharpshooter - an honor she held for many years.
  5. Benjamin Franklin - Benjamin Franklin's (1706-1790) electrical discoveries and inventions opened doors for him to a diplomatic career in Europe at the time of the American Revolution, making him the most internationally famous American of the 18th century. In the position of plenipotentiary, he was the Continental Congress'agent vested with full power to transact business on behalf of the American war effort.
  6. Deborah Samson - Deborah Samson (1760-1827), a young school teacher, wanted to play an active role in the American Revolution. Dressed as a man and using the name Robert Shurtliff, she signed up for three years as a Continental soldier and served with distinction until illness forced her to quit the war.
  7. Benjamin Banneker - Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806) was the best-known African American of his time. As a free black, he wrote against slavery; as a land surveyor, he assisted in the survey of what became the District of Columbia. He was also a mathematician, astronomer and almanac publisher.
  8. Benedict Arnold - Benedict Arnold (1741-1801), the most famous traitor in American history, had been an American hero. Early in the Revolution, he fought fearlessly in battle. However, his love of the "good life" eventually led him into financial trouble and, for a large sum of money, he switched his loyalty to the British.
  9. John Muir - John Muir (1838-1914) emigrated from Scotland to America as a child. He grew up in Wisconsin and studied plants and animals at the state university. He covered America on foot and settled in California where he fell in love with the giant redwoods and the natural beauty of the land. As founder of the Sierra Club, he helped President Teddy Roosevelt establish restrictions to protect America's forests.
  10. Nellie Bly - Nellie Bly (1864-1922) was the pen name of journalist Elizabeth Cochrane, who invented the "stunt report." She used aliases and disguises to ferret out stories that often exposed unacceptable conditions, whether in an insane asylum or a baby-selling ring. In 1889, she decided to beat Phileas Fogg's fictional record of circling the world in 80 days - she did it in 72.
  11. Jim Thorpe - Jim Thorpe (1888-1953) was a Native American from the Sac and Fox tribe. His life was a series of "firsts." In the 1912 Olympics, he became the first and only person to win both the Pentathlon and Decathlon; he was the first American to simultaneously play professional baseball and football; and he became the first president of the National Football League.
  12. Mary McLeod Bethune - Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955) was born in South Carolina. As a child she picked cotton with her parents Samuel and Patsy McLeod. Nearby there was a school for Negro children founded by Emma Wilson, who taught her reading and math. Her dream was to become a foreign missionary; instead she found her mission in Florida where she established a college for African Americans. She went on to serve under Presidents Roosevelt and Truman and established the National Council of Negro Women.

Quittons Pour Mieux Vivre

30 min.; K-12; Anthropology, Fine Arts, Franco-Americans, History, Maine Studies; Produced by: Hyde School, Bath, ME (1981)

Quittons Pour Mieux Vivre depicts the reasons for the French-Canadian immigration to Maine, the contributions of the Franco-Americans, and the ethnic traditions of Franco-American families. Presented in dramatic musical form, each scene contains traditional, contemporary, and original songs and dances performed in both French and English.

Remember the Maine

60 min.; 7-12; History, Maine Studies; Produced by: Maine Public Television (1998)

The battleship "USS Maine" sank on February 15, 1898. This documentary looks at the history of the ship, the prelude to war which took her to Cuba, and the reaction to her sinking.

Remembering Pearl Harbor

60 min.; 9-12; History, Maine Studies; Maine Public Television, Lewiston, ME (2002)

The "big picture" story of Pearl Harbor is familiar. But on the 60th anniversary of the attack, Maine PBS provided an unforgettable, personal view of what it was like to be part of that momentous day. Remembering Pearl Harbor tells the story of the attach through six Maine people who experienced it in a variety of ways. Among them are a sailor who escaped the sinking battleship West Virginia; another sailor who helped rescue comrades in the harbor, and a third who watched, helplessly, from his ship just offshore. Viewers meet an army veteran who was injured by bombs at a nearby airfield, and a report and his wife, who together sent some of the first messages to the U.S. mainland that fateful morning. Their stories give a dramatic account of life and death, and of how lives were changed forever. They also look at September 11, 2001, and reflect on how America's latest national tragedy and call to arms compares to that memorable day of 60 years ago.

Roanoke Voyages

90 min.; 6-12; History, Native Americans; Produced by: North Carolina Public Television & Lev Sherman (1988)

Dramatic recreation of the first English settlement in America; produced for the 400th anniversary of the Roanoke Voyages (1584-88); historical, cultural, social, and Native American studies.

Shanty Boys

30 min.; 7-12; Forests & Forestry, History, Maine Studies; Produced by: Maine Public Broadcasting (1976)

A program designed to recreate both the myths and the realities of the men of Maine who worked in the woods. The program consists of tall tales of the woodsmen's life, woodsmen's songs, and film of woods operations taken circa 1937.

Story of the Acadians

2 programs - 30 min. each; 9-12; Anthropology, Foreign Countries, Maine Studies; Produced by: Maine Public Broadcasting (1980)

  1. The Story Of The Acadians - The program centers on the enforced deportation of the French from British Canada in 1755, and traces the historic reasons for the deportation and includes interviews with contemporary historians and native Acadians. It also examines the current life styles of the present day Acadians with glimpses of traditional cooking, dancing, and music.
  2. The Madawaska People - The Madawaska People captures in vivid form the town's annual Acadian Festival, a celebration of their Franco-American heritage. The program also visits Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives John Martin, himself a Franco-American from Eagle Lake, to talk about the economy of the St. John Valley. (1985)

Then It Happened

15 min.; 7-12; Environment, Forests & Forestry, Maine Studies, Safety; Distributed by: Maine Dept. of Conservation (1987)

A documentary on the 1947 forest fires in Maine with an introduction by Governor John McKernan.