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PBS launches family history TV show, “Family Pictures USA”

Thomas Allen Harris reviews photos in his archive. Courtesy: WGCU-TV

“Family Pictures USA”, a new PBS television show, that “explores neighborhoods and cities through the lens of the family photo album.” Hosted by artist and filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris, and with major support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), this national series “seeks to expand the understanding of American history, diversity and shared values through family photos in the digital age,” according to a press release.

“For the past 150 years, families have used the photo album to pass on their stories from one generation to the next. The family album has kept us together,” says Harris. “But in today’s digital age, we have to work harder to keep and maintain the stories of our families and our communities. Everyone is a photographer, but the stories and communities behind our photos are being lost.”

The show is similar to PBS’ monster hit, “Antiques Roadshow.” Harris travels to different locations finding, meeting and connecting with families and their family pictures. Presented nationwide on PBS by UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina and WGCU Public Media (SW Florida), “Family Pictures USA” features stops in Michigan (Detroit), Southwest Florida and North Carolina (Rocky Mount and Durham). In addition, a North Carolina-exclusive half-hour special goes behind the scenes to offer a look at what goes into making the national series.

“Family Pictures USA” is an innovative and engaging way to build local public media community connections and create national content,” according to Maja Mrkoci, CPB senior vice president of Television Content and Innovation. “We are looking forward to learning more about the stories behind the images of life in small towns and rural communities across America.”

Major support for “Family Pictures USA” is provided by CPB with additional support from the Wyncote Foundation, Independent Television Service (ITVS), Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) and Black Public Media (BPM). Support is also provided by ElectriCities of North Carolina, Inc.


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