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Audio tour of historic spots debuts Saturday

The Boulder City Museum and Historical Society will unveil its newest attraction Saturday, as the audio walking tour of the historic downtown will be ready for action.

Conceived by Roger Shoaff, general manager of the museum as well as the Boulder Dam Hotel, the tour features 11 stops, each with its own three to four minutes of narration, as it leads listeners around downtown Boulder City, visiting local landmarks, artwork and historical sites, exploring the city’s 85-year heritage.

“The tours at the (Hoover) Dam are great, but they’re missing a part of the story,” Shoaff said. “We saw this as an opportunity to offer people a closer look at the workers that actually built the dam, the lives they lived and town they conceived.”

The walking tour is an idea that has been discussed for a few years, according to Shoaff, and he viewed it as a pre-emptive move to counter loss of traffic anticipated with the completion of Interstate 11.

“We want to make sure that people know we are here and come to explore what we have to offer,” Shoaff said. “This is so perfect because people that are into this type of experience and history are the very kind of people that will love what they find here. If tourists find the place they’re looking for, they will stay longer and spend more.”

The tour begins on Arizona Street, outside the Boulder Dam Hotel, and finishes at the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum inside the building.

There will be signs and placards with QR labels that, when scanned, will connect users with the tour, using the OnCell mobile app, where they can access a map and each audio clip. OnCell has tour partnerships in more than 200 locations, including Washington, D.C., the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam. Those without internet capability will be able to call a local number and listen along as well.

The audio tour features original narration by a handful of local residents, chosen for their distinctive voices by Museum Development Officer Leslie Woodbury, including former broadcasters Sue Manteris and John Barlow.

The vocal talents of their generous volunteers really help bring the story to life, according to Woodbury, something that should help keep people engaged as they pass by numerous shops, restaurants and businesses.

“With more than 40 minutes of narration, people on the tour can easily spend an hour exploring the downtown area,” Woodbury said. “It’s called authentic tourism, and right now it’s incredibly popular. People are looking for real experiences, not just theme parks and rides, but places that bring history to life and offer a glimpse into how we got where we are. I think that is the essence of Boulder City. We are who we were, and people looking for authenticity are going to fall in love with us.”

To learn more, stop by the museum inside the Boulder Dam Hotel, 1305 Arizona St., or visit http://walkbc.oncell.com/en/index.html to explore the app.

Contact reporter Hunter Terry at hterry@boulder cityreview.com or call 702-586-6711. Follow him on Twitter @HunterBCReview

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