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April 26, 2006

CW debuts new audio tours to enhance guest experience in the Historic Area

Twenty-first-century technology enhances the 18th-century experience in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area as the first of three new interactive audio tours, “Highlights of the Historic Area,” is now available.

Through the use of MP3 players, Colonial Williamsburg offers guests a self-paced introduction with special emphasis on the new educational curriculum: “From Subjects to Citizens: Our Struggle to Be Both Free and Equal.” Two additional tours – one with architectural emphasis and the other featuring voices of the American Revolution – will be introduced in mid-June.

“The introduction of 21st-century technology to our interpretation of Revolutionary America truly allows the future to learn from the past,” said Richard McCluney, Colonial Williamsburg’s Royce R. and Kathryn M. Baker vice president for productions, publications and learning ventures. “It is essential to connect with new, young, tech-savvy and diverse special interest audiences through programs that provide quality interpretation for the next generation.”

Colonial Williamsburg will begin the new pilot program of audio tours with 150 MP3 players capable of serving several hundred guests each day. A modest $6 rental fee for ticketed guests and $15 for non-ticketed guests will apply for use of the players available at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center.

Focusing on important historical themes and elements, the three themed tours will expand to six or more by 2007. Future tours will be offered in multiple languages for non-English speaking guests.

Purchase of the audio devices was made possible through a grant from the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation of Richmond, a long-time supporter of Colonial Williamsburg. The Foundation’s past support includes a challenge grant for the Peyton Randolph House outbuildings in 1999 and a grant for architectural research in 1992.

Media Contact:
Jim Bradley
(757) 220-7121