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Monday, June 21 at 9 p.m. – History Detectives

(Rochester, NY) History Detectives, a PBS audience favorite, launches into space for an exhilarating hour exploring the excitement, promise and ingenuity that fueled America’s foray into space exploration. History Detectives’ eighth season debuts Monday, June 21, and airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV (DT 21.1/cable 1011 and 11) throughout the summer, following Antiques Roadshow.

In History Detectives' season premiere, Space Exploration, detective Tukufu Zuberi tracks a scrap of metallic Mylar that could be one of America’s early satellites — balloons — in the segment Satelloon. Then, in the segment Moon Museum, Gwendolyn Wright investigates the audacious notion that Andy Warhol’s art may be on the moon. Finally, in the Space Boot segment, Elyse Luray tries on a jury-rigged ski boot with a magnetic metal brick bolted to the bottom that may be one of the first prototypes for a NASA space boot.

History Detectives always interacts with its audience. Viewers generate by far the majority of the stories. This season, History Detectives takes that collaboration to new heights, asking viewers to help solve one of the mysteries. Also this year, fans have pitched in with research as the investigations progressed.

History Detectives adds a fifth host to the line-up this year:

  • Eduardo Pagán, professor of history at Arizona State University, a guest host last year, is now a permanent member of the team.

He joins the original hosts:

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

This year, the team crisscrossed the country, scrutinizing the questions behind some of the detectives’ most intriguing objects ever:

  • Can the History Detectives reunite a vandalized sculpture of President Andrew Jackson that had been dismembered for more than 150 years?
  • Did a map of Iwo Jima, recovered from the body of a Japanese soldier, play a role in the crucial World War II battle on that island?
  • Has a History Detectives contributor found a piece of film that documents the first historical instance of sound and pictures recorded together?
  • Why did Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, write a letter about a Civil War soldier?
  • Did a History Detectives fan find a section of the first transatlantic cable?

Once again, the History Detectives combine the latest in forensic technology with old-fashioned diligent research to answer arcane questions about fascinating objects. History Detectives, like no other program on television, brings the past to life.

Pictured: The five History Detectives (from L-R) Tukufu Zuberi, Gwen Wright, Eduardo Pagan, Elyse Luray and Wes Cowan

Credit: Stephanie Berger



WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Log on to wxxi.org for more information about our services and programs.