History Detectives Season 9

History Detectives Season 9

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 5:00pm - 6:00pm

Pictured: The History Detectives (l-r) Wes Cowan, Gwendolyn Wright, Tukufu Zuberi, Elyse Luray and Edwardo Pagán

Credit: Stephanie Berger

History Detectives, a PBS audience favorite, reveals the fascinating and moving stories behind intriguing finds.

The summer series’ opener sets the stage for a captivating season­ that features an incredible array of stirring tales that tie in to some of the most historically significant milestones. Add to those stories engrossing investigations from fine arts and photography to women’s issues and unsung heroes, from pop culture to vintage Americana, and you will see History Detectives has something for everyone. History Detectives re-airing of it's ninth season begins weekdays on Monday, June 25, 2018 at 5 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

In episode one, History Detectives historian Eduardo Pagán gains unprecedented access to a private Hawaiian island to tell the story behind two puzzling airplane engine parts. Elyse Luray then travels to Charleston, South Carolina, where she calls upon experts to determine whether she holds pieces of an important Civil War cannon. Finally, Wes Cowan traces a rodeo saddle to a veteran of Hollywood westerns who helped change moviemaking. 

This season, History Detectives commemorates the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War and investigates several objects that reveal never-been-told stories taking place during one of the greatest times of turmoil and conflict from our nation: 

  • Did a History Detectives fan find a pike used by abolitionist John Brown in the famous raid at Harpers Ferry?
  • Can a faded letter reveal what compelled a white Union soldier to request to lead an African American unit?
  • Could strange metal filings be from the cannon that sounded the first volley in the fight for southern secession?
  • What role might a child’s doll have played in attempts by the Confederate South to smuggle drugs past the Northern blockade?

This year, History Detectives also marks the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, traveling to Hawaii for the first time ever to uncover engaging untold stories: 

  • Can the History Detectives trace two engine parts to the Japanese Zero that crashed on a remote Hawaiian island while Pearl Harbor was under siege?
  • What was the strategy behind the propaganda leaflets the United States dropped over Japan during World War II?
  • What can a Japanese carved cane tell a History Detectives fan about his family’s life in a Japanese internment camp?

From Tiffany windows to a camera possibly used by the first woman photographer at the White House to a mysterious business card for an underworld Los Angeles gambling club, to an unusual wooden telescope, the History Detectives team continues to combine the latest in forensic technology with old-fashioned diligent research and historical experts to bring these fascinating objects to viewers.  Like no other program on television, History Detectives unveils the stories of the past--spanning topics from fine art and photography to Americana and pop culture, aviation and military history to architecture and engineering.

 Returning to History Detectives this season are the series’ five inquisitive sleuths: 

  • Wes Cowan, independent appraiser and auctioneer; 
  • Elyse Luray, independent appraiser and expert in art history;
  • Gwendolyn Wright, historian and professor of architecture, Columbia University;     
  • Tukufu Zuberi, professor of sociology and the director of the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania;
  • Eduardo Pagán, professor of history at Arizona State University.