Filmmaker Ken Burns Partners With Tauck

Itineraries, events and films tell story of the Civil War, jazz and national parks By: Marilyn Green
Tauck’s Rober Saterstrom (left) with filmmaker Ken Burns. // © 2010 Tauck
Tauck’s Rober Saterstrom (left) with filmmaker Ken Burns. // © 2010 Tauck

The Details


Tauck has announced a five-year partnership with Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns and his longtime collaborator, Dayton Duncan, to create travel experiences based on Burns’ films — initially U.S. national parks, the Civil War and jazz.

This is a first for Burns who said he feels very comfortable working with Tauck, since they both have the same approach.

“Tauck works the same way we do, with a deep commitment to a story,” he said. “Nothing is accomplished with a template; it’s a real collaborative process.”

The alliance is miles away from just lending a famous name, as Burns and Duncan will produce more than 30 new short documentary films to be shown to Tauck guests while they travel to their destinations, telling how they created the films and sharing the personal stories behind the process. 

In addition to working on the actual itineraries and creating the films, Burns and Duncan are co-creating a series of five-day Ken Burns Events with Tauck that will work from one destination and accommodate up to 400 Tauck guests. In 2011, these will include a May 22-26 Civil War event in Washington, D.C. and a roots of jazz event based in New Orleans from Oct. 5-9.

Departures for the 10-day Spirit of the Desert: The National Parks itinerary will run from May through October next year.

“By getting people into the parks, and by sharing the incredible stories of the people behind the parks, we’re inspiring Americans to embrace the parks and preserve them for future generations,” Burns said. “People are far more likely to defend what they know and value.”

The Spirit of the Desert itinerary begins with an overnight in Moab, Utah, followed by a sunrise exploration of Arches National Park and an afternoon rafting the Colorado River. Guests are given an introduction to Navajo culture, pay a visit to Canyonlands National Park, go flightseeing over Capitol Reef National Park and take free time to go hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking or relaxing. That’s only the beginning of a tour that also takes in Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon, with air-inclusive pricing starting from $4,390 per person, based on double occupancy.

Duncan, who professed himself to be “envious of the people getting on these Tauck tours,” said that he and Burns are making sure guests see the world I the best light that they use for film-making: sunrise and sunset.

He added, “If I ever retire I might think of a new career designing tours for Tauck.”

It looks as though he doesn’t need to wait for retirement.

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