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July 31, 2012

Podcasts Explore Meaning of Public Service and Citizenship

Colonial Williamsburg’s website offers weekly podcasts not only with historic figures such as Thomas Jefferson – portrayed by actor/interpreter Bill Barker – curators, experts on rare breeds, chefs and archaeologists, but this summer, conversations with current public figures.

College of William and Mary Chancellor and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates speaks with Harmony Hunter of Colonial Williamsburg about the art of compromise, the conflict between idealism and realism and partisan politics. Gates has served both Republican and Democrat administrations and believes character and temperament are more important qualities of leadership than intellect, from the founding fathers to today.

This week, Colonial Williamsburg posted a podcast with Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont, who was in Williamsburg for the National Governors Association Annual Meeting. Gov. Shumlin discusses the challenges of applying the founders’ vision to today’s governance. Aug. 27, a conversation with Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado includes thoughts on partisan politics, training citizens and what he learned from tending bar.

“The interviews we conduct for the podcasts allow public figures to reflect on the nation’s history of engaged citizenship and participatory democracy in a non-partisan setting,” said Bill White, the Royce R. and Kathryn M. Baker vice president for productions, publications and learning ventures. “As we expand our role as a center for American history, citizenship and democracy, we hope to add many more interviews with public figures.”

Colonial Williamsburg podcasts were launched in 2005 and have been recognized for excellence and creativity by the American Association of Museums, the Communicator Awards, the International Academy of Visual Arts and the Web Marketing Association.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit center for American history, citizenship and democracy, encouraging audiences at home and around the world to learn from the past. Colonial Williamsburg demonstrates its commitment to expanding its thought-provoking programming as well as its dedication to cultural and historical authenticity on-site and online through the preservation, restoration and presentation of 18th-centry Williamsburg and the study, interpretation and teaching of America’s founding principles. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation. Philanthropic support by individuals, corporations, and foundations benefits the educational mission of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Barbara Brown
(757) 220-7280