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Hulu Days of Summer: Brothers and Sisters; Great Museums

July 15th, 2009 by Rebecca Harper Editor

Today we launch two new shows as part of the Hulu Days of Summer. In the first, ABC’s Brothers and Sisters, a close-knit family copes with the devastating loss of a father, only to discover dear old dad was living a double life. Enter a mistress, a long-lost heir and a headstrong mother and you have serious drama. We can currently offer the five episodes most recently aired on television (reflecting summer repeats), so you’ll find a selection of episodes from the end of the third season.

In addition, we’re happy to welcome Great Museums to the Hulu family. Underwritten by the Eureka Foundation, this in-depth series delves deeper into some of the country’s most iconic museums (plus a special look at Cuba’s museums). We asked the series’ Executive Producer, Marc Doyle, to tell us more about the show. Check out his post below. — Rebecca Harper (), Editor

The Great Museums project started in 1997 on a small cable network, but it really took off when the principals of the Eureka Foundation decided to underwrite the re-creation of Great Museums for the public television world. Our underwriters are committed to the educational power of television and new media and recognized that Great Museums was educational television at its best

The series itself was the brainchild of my wife and business partner, Chesney Doyle — or, as she quite accurately recalls, we had the crazy idea that as newlyweds, we should also be partners in a new business venture. Upon hearing our plans, a wise man told us “That’s like driving a race and learning to drive a race car at the same time.” But we didn’t listen and now, thanks to the support of the Eureka Foundation, we’re still on the course.

In the beginning, we basically asked ourselves two questions: First, if we were going to create a project from scratch, one that we were going to spend the rest of our working lives developing and building, what would we really enjoy working on? Second, we asked ourselves if there was a social or civic need for inspirational information that could effectively be communicated through the power of television and new media.

Our answer: Great Museums.

Each of the 43 episodes we’ve produced thus far has been based on the premise that our nation’s great museums house the DNA of the American experience. We feel that the keys to the American identity, and to finding our own place in the American story, are in our museums. We think of museum experiences as having the power to bring us together, on common ground, as opposed to separating us on the basis of differences. That’s why we talk to the indefatigable Margaret Burroughs, the founder of the first African American museum in the U.S. in “Riches, Rivals and Radicals:” her vision provided a way for all Americans to celebrate and preserve black culture.

The Great Museums episodes are not “tours” of museums. We instead use the museum’s collections and its expert curators to tell the museum’s many stories. It is a storytelling style that is more conversational — a bit more spontaneous. It is a less rigorous way to tell stories and pass on information, which we think makes viewers feel like they’re walking the museum and enjoying its treasures right along with us. There is nothing that can replace a real visit to a museum and the experience of seeing “the genuine article.” However, few of us can personally visit all the great museums in America.

We want Great Museums‘ viewers to experience the transformation that happens when you enter a museum. We also hope our films stimulate you to recognize the important role that museums play in our world and the great value they offer, both on an individual level and to our society. One way to start is to watch one of our featured episodes, “Riches, Rivals and Radicals.” This episode tells the story of the history of museums in America. It’s a fascinating story with many interesting characters and lots of plot twists. It’s a living story and there is no ending. In an interview, David Rockefeller talks about Colonial Williamsburg, which his parents actually founded. Now having this personal connection, an in-person visit to Williamsburg gives you an even greater sense of American heritage and history.

We hope it brings the museum world alive for you and inspires you to enjoy all the other Great Museums episodes, to visit www.greatmuseums.org, and to visit and support the great museums in your own backyard. — Marc Doyle, Executive Producer, Great Museums

Last comment: Jul 21st 2009 3 Comments