A new television series starring Washington Post reporter Geoff Edgers premieres tonight on the American Heroes Channel.
Edgers, who became the Post’s national arts correspondent in September, is the host of Secrets of the Arsenal, which uses rare and hidden artifacts to explore some of history’s most important stories. The cameras follow Edgers as he scours historic vaults around the country and discovers everything from a trophy pistol found on a World-War-II-era German submarine to a shotgun owned by a notorious stagecoach robber.
“The key is you go places, and bring your viewers, where they can’t normally go,” Edgers says.
Although most visitors won’t get the access Edgers and his crew enjoyed, much of the show was filmed in popular Washington-area tourist destinations. Among the sites the show visits are Ford’s Theatre, the National Archives, and the National Security Agency’s National Cryptologic Museum.
“The big challenge on a show like this is telling stories about some of the most important moments in history and making them seem fresh,” Edgers says. “Everybody has written a book, done a movie, or done a documentary on every war we can think of. So how do you put a fresh spin on it? Our approach was to find a cool object that has something to do with the subject and then focusing on that.”
Edgers spent 12 years at the Boston Globe before joining the Post in August, but this isn’t his first crack at television. He produced a PBS documentary about his effort to reunite The Kinks, and also hosted the Travel Channel’s Edge of America. (“For my first episode, I had to castrate a bull,” he says.)
In addition to Edgers’ reporting, Secrets of the Arsenal uses historical reenactments to appeal to what Edgers hopes will be an audience that extends beyond the hard-core history buffs. “My hope is that [the show will appeal to] somebody kind of like me,” he says, “somebody who’s really into great stories, who’s read David McCullough, and David Halberstam’s book on the Korean war, but isn’t collecting [military] uniforms.
Tonight’s episode airs at 10 PM, although the show will air the rest of its episodes at 9 on Tuesdays.
Find Luke Mullins on Twitter at @lmullinsdc.