2016 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities with Ken Burns

By National Endowment for the Humanities (other events)

Monday, May 9 2016 7:30 PM 9:00 PM


Want to see Ken Burns give the 2016 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities?

Then please consider taking these steps because we always have UNCLAIMED tickets the night of the event. Yes, unclaimed tickets. And we give them away on a first-come, first-served basis.

  1. Email Mackenzie Shutler, [email protected], to be put on a list to claim forfeited tickets as they become available.

  2. Be patient. Many people wait until the week before the lecture to notify us that they need to forfeit their tickets.

  3. Expect to hear from us by Friday, May 6.

Even if you are unable to reserve tickets before the lecture, you should DEFINITELY still come to the Kennedy Center on May 9 to wait in the standby line.

We have always been able to give unclaimed tickets to everyone in the standby line.


Standby Line Information:

COME DOWN starting at 5:30 p.m. to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts the night of the performance, Monday May 9. (Don’t forget, that’s the Monday AFTER Mother's Day)

WAIT in the standby line in front of the Concert Hall.  (That’s right, you’ll be waiting inside. Plus, if you get hungry, the Kennedy Center does have food for purchase.)

STARTING at 7:20 p.m., we will give out unclaimed tickets to everyone in the standby line. (In years past we have had up to 500 unclaimed tickets.)

PERFORMANCE is at 7:30 p.m.

QUESTIONS? Please contact Mackenzie Shutler, [email protected] | 202-606-8317

Hope to see you on Monday May 9!


Ken Burns, the award-wining documentarian who pioneered a new genre of historical filmmaking, will deliver the 2016 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities. The lecture is the highest honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities. The lecture is produced by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Burns will deliver the lecture on May 9 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m. The lecture is a free public event and will also stream live online. Burns will talk about race in America, a topic he has illuminated and confronted through his nearly 40 years of directing and producing acclaimed historical documentaries.

Watch a video of Ken Burns speaking with NEH Chairman William Adams about the Jefferson Lecture.

Tickets to the Jefferson Lecture are free. Read more about the NEH Jefferson Lecture and Ken Burns at

Engage and follow the 2016 Jefferson Lecture social conversation:

Twitter: @NEHgov | #JeffLec16

Facebook: National Endowment for the Humanities | #JeffLec16

(NOTE: This event is on the Monday following Mother's Day.)

When all the tickets are spoken for please email [email protected] to inquire about the standby line. 

NEH is a federal agency created in 1965 that is celebrating its 50th anniversary. NEH awards grants to individuals and institutions (e.g. museums, libraries, archives) that support understanding and appreciation of cultural topics including languages and literature, history, philosophy and others.


ADMISSION: Please note that TicketLeap receipts are proof of registration only, and do not in themselves constitute a ticket to the May 9th Jefferson Lecture.

TICKETS: Tickets may be picked up (using either photo ID or a TicketLeap receipt) at the NEH Will Call table at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on May 9th immediately prior to the lecture. The Will Call tables, located outside the Concert Hall, open at 5:30 PM. All tickets that have not been claimed by 7:30 PM will be released on a first-come first-served basis to individuals waiting in a standby queue.

CANCELLATIONS: To cancel a ticket, please email NEH at [email protected] and include your ticket confirmation number.

If you do not receive an email confirmation shortly, please check your Spam folder. Thank you!

Mailing Address

400 7th Street SW Washington, DC 20506