New PBS Series Films In North Carolina November 10 & 17

Family Pictures USA Seeks Poignant Pix & Southern Stories

October 10, 2018

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, 10/10/2018 — Every picture tells a story, and "Family Pictures USA" tells the stories behind the pictures. "Family Pictures USA", coming to PBS in 2019, is a new television series 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. Next month, Family Pictures USA brings its traveling production crew to film North Carolinians in the Triangle and Eastern North Carolina.

“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.”

Somewhere between Antiques Roadshow’s suspenseful surprises and the submerged history revealed on "Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr." lives "Family Pictures USA." In this new series, Harris travels to different locations finding, meeting and connecting with families and their family pictures.

And UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina and "Family Pictures USA" seek local voices to be part of the national narrative through personal pictures that help tell family backstories and how they connect to their communities.

Producer Thomas Allen Harris wears a white glove as he reviews photos in his archive. Credit: UNC-TV
Thomas Allen Harris reviews photos in his archive. Courtesy: WGCU-TV

"Family Pictures USA" and Public Media North Carolina will host family photo-sharing events in Rocky Mount and Durham over two consecutive Saturdays, November 10 and 17, respectively, providing opportunities to engage with and share personal photographs and stories. With research at the ready, Harris and team will guide participants through an enlightening and emotional process, often revealing new discoveries about the images families have lived with all their lives. Participants’ photos will be digitized, and stories will be recorded to video, with select ones featured in the final series, premiering on air and online on PBS in 2019.

Persons interested in sharing their family photos and stories, and learning more about them, can visit for more information and to sign up. Producers will choose compelling images and notify potential participants about scheduling a photo-sharing session. Filming will be at Rocky Mount Mills in Rocky Mount, Saturday, November 10, and in downtown Durham at the Full Frame Theater in the center of the American Tobacco Campus, Saturday, November 17. Participants will receive a thumb drive of their digitized images. [Editor’s Note: Family Pictures USA researchers will work in North Carolina November 1-20, during which time they will be available for interviews; please contact Rebekah Radisch to schedule.]

“North Carolina offers an ideal location for discovering fascinating narratives rich with history and culture,” notes UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina Chief Content Officer Travis Mitchell. “Through 'Family Pictures USA' we are connecting North Carolinians to each other, the world and endless possibilities. At the same time, we are helping create national content. It’s a win-win for all of us!”

Presented nationwide on PBS by UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina and WGCU Public Media (SW Florida), "Family Pictures USA" premieres in Summer 2019—with 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.


Family Pictures USA is a new public television series that explores neighborhoods and cities through the lens of the family photo album. Like NPR’s StoryCorps, Family Pictures USA guides each participant through a personal narrative using photographs and images as the primary medium of the story. Building on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow model, Family Pictures USA travels to different locations across the country uncovering little known and unusual personal stories and connecting them to a larger narrative that better contextualizes particular locales. Join the conversation on social media at #familypicturesusa.


The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @CPBmediaFacebook, and LinkedIn, and subscribe for email updates.


On air, online and in person, UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina connects North Carolinians to each other, the world and endless possibilities. Through its unique partnership of public investment and private support, the statewide network includes in-person engagement, digital-first social and online content delivery, and four over-the-air channels—UNC-TV PBS & More, the North Carolina Channel, Rootle 24/7 PBS KIDS and the Explorer Channel. Additionally, it provides emergency services support for the state and free educational services and resources for teachers. Visit and join the conversation by connecting with us at, and @publicmediaNC on Twitter.


Contact: Rebekah Radisch, UNC-TV: 919-549-7177

Categories: Digital, Diversity, Grant