About six years ago, the Mattatuck Museum here in Waterbury was approached by researchers from Florentine Films, the Ken Burns documentary group, with questions about World War II. Burns had decided to do a documentary about the war effort on the homefront, and they were looking for representative cities. They needed an industrial northeastern city, and they needed a city whose historical society could help them gather up hundreds of still images and historic film strips, as well as residents with interesting stories about life in their city and factories during WWII. The Mattatuck, realizing what a great opportunity this was for the city and determined to do what they could to ensure that Burns chose Waterbury, supplied them with everything they needed, and Waterbury was chosen to be in the documentary. Three other cities, representing the south, the midwest and the west coast, were also chosen for the 14-hour maxiseries.
Burns has started playing teaser clips from the documentary at events around the country, and it was recently announced that the full documentary will air on PBS in September 2007. This is going to be a huge event for Waterbury. We'll be getting a lot of positive press, which I hope we can build on. I think a lot of city residents have a tendency to be very negative about Waterbury, because we've had so much bad publicity. Bad press is almost always more memorable than good press, but I think this is something that everyone will notice and remember.