WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- Thomas Jefferson isn't about to start listening to an iPod, with telltale earbud wires dangling from under his tricorn hat as he walks the streets of Colonial Williamsburg.
But people far from the restored 18th century capital of Virginia can use their portable audio players to hear costumed interpreter Bill Barker talk about portraying Jefferson or, in honor of July Fourth , read the Declaration of Independence.
The world's largest living history museum long has used modern media to share its stories with audiences far beyond its 301-acre historic area, dating to before World War II, when it produced an educational film for schools.
Today, it has an extensive website with photo slideshows, online exhibits, and interactive tours, and it offers ``electronic field trips" for schools .
It's also using something that didn't even exist a couple of years ago: podcasts.
Colonial Williamsburg is creating free weekly audio programs people can listen to on computers as well as portable players to find out more about those who work there, plying old trades, and playing historical figures. The idea is to educate people and inspire them to visit.
Robyn Eoff, Colonial Williamsburg's Internet director, came up with the idea for the podcasts to reach audiences.
``History may be old but its presentation doesn't have to be," Eoff said.
CLOSER TO HOME
Download an audio tour of Boston's Freedom Trail at www.boston.com/travel/boston/freedomtrail/podcast.
Sound bites of historySome historic sites offering podcasts:
ª Monticello: www.monticello.org/podcasts/index.html
ª Smithsonian: www.smithsonian.org/podcasts/default.htm
ª Williamsburg: www.history.org/Media/podcasts.cfm