You’ve seen it before, and if you’re at the Gettysburg Museum or the Smithsonian‘s Natural History Museum later this month, you will see it again: History -branded short-form video. In fact, 80 sites will have History’s videos by ’09, the network says. It’s been doing this for more than 10 years, producing original videos or excerpting footage from existing series and specials requested by museum curators. For Gettysburg, History did all the video, which will premiere Sept 25. That work was funded by the site, with assistance from History. Video at Smithsonian museums in DC, is donated, like footage for the Oceans exhibit at the Museum of Natural History, also opening Sept 25. "But [donated video] is not just a good-guy effort; this is really a strategic decision on our part," says Libby O’Connell, History’s chief historian and svp, corporate outreach, AETN. "We believe it’s important…to reach audiences outside the television-viewing arena and right in the places where history happened." In addition, "sometimes these exhibits are up for 10 years," O’Connell says. "They get 2mln visitors a year. So that’s 20mln people watching this show. That’s a pretty good rating…Compared to the cost of a billboard over those years this has been a pretty good equation." In addition, local cable operators join in. AETN recently provided video under the Biography Channel brand for a Smithsonian museum’s exhibit on Jim Henson. "Comcast worked with us [on special events for] that," she says. The exhibit garnered a lot of children, O’Connell adds, "not necessarily an audience we get to reach on our air." And History’s video isn’t limited to land. "I love this one. We’re working with Alcatraz, putting short-form video on the boats that take visitors from San Francisco Bay to Alcatraz."

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