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Building Big

David Macaulay with notepad



Series Description

A five-part miniseries on megastructures, hosted by David Macaulay, each one-hour program focused on a different type of structure: bridges, domes, skyscrapers, dams, and tunnels.

Funders (and resulting constraints)

National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, CPB, PBS, American Society of Civil Engineers, Siemens. The National Science Foundation was a major funder through the Informal Science Education directorate. Therefore, the focus of the outreach had to be on informal -- outside the classroom -- education settings.

Educational Outreach Budget Range

Very large (over $500K)

Educational Outreach "Producers"

All elements of the project were handled by WGBH staff. The educational materials and outreach activities were handled by the Educational Print and Outreach staff, the short video by Educational Programming staff, and the Web site by WGBH Interactive staff. A project director served as the communication linchpin between all the different departments and the production, holding biweekly meetings and helping facilitate communication.


  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America
  • Computer Technology Centers Network (CTCNets)
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) -- The ASCE was a national sponsor. They also donated additional financial support (in particular travel costs for Building Big outreach staff to go to their regional meetings to train engineers) as well as 20,000 volunteer hours of members' time to support educational outreach efforts. WGBH trained over 2,000 engineers through 20 workshops.
  • Public television stations

In this section:

    Auschwitz: Inside the
    Nazi State

>  Building Big

        Goals & Audience

        Outreach Elements


        Challenges &
        Lessons Learned

    Culture Shock



    In Search of Shakespeare

    Lewis & Clark:
    The Journey of the
    Corps of Discovery

    My Journey Home

    The New Americans

    Poetic License


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