Podcast FAQs

This page provides information about listening to the Museum's free downloadable podcasts.

What is a podcast?

A podcast is like a radio show delivered over the Internet to your computer. You can listen to the files on your computer or transfer them onto an MP3 player (e.g., an iPod) for you to listen to whenever you wish. Using a podcast application (like Apple iTunes), you can subscribe to a podcast feed and your computer will automatically download new episodes whenever they are available.

How do I subscribe to your podcasts?

Want to ensure you never miss a new podcast from the series? By subscribing, you will automatically receive every new episode on your computer or MP3 player.  

To subscribe to a podcast, you use a podcast application. The application checks the subscription feed regularly and automatically downloads new content when it's available. Once downloaded, the podcast can be transferred to your MP3 player or stored on your computer for later listening. Free software can be downloaded that allows you to subscribe to podcast feeds. iTunes is a popular application for subscribing to podcasts. Many others can be found here.

For Prototype Online:

1. Visit the Prototype Online iTunes page
2. Click “View in iTunes”
3. Let your browser launch your iTunes application
4. Click “Subscribe Free”

If you use a different podcast application, copy the Prototype Online URL into your application: http://invention.smithsonian.org/podcasts/prototype.rss

For History Explorer:

1. Visit the History Explorer iTunes page
2. Click “View in iTunes”
3. Let your browser launch your iTunes application
4. Click “Subscribe Free”

If you use a different podcast application, copy the History Explorer URL into your application: http://invention.smithsonian.org/podcasts/explorer.rss

How do I download individual podcasts onto my computer?

You may download podcasts directly onto your computer. From our podcast index, go to the page of the podcast you want to download. Right-click (PC) or control-click (Mac) the audio file and then choose "save link as…" (PC) or “save as” (Mac) to download the mp3 file.

Do I need an iPod to listen to podcasts?

No. Podcasts will play on any digital music player or computer.

I clicked the "Listen Now" link, but nothing is playing.

Depending on your browser configuration, your podcast may not play in your browser. In this case, the browser may have downloaded the podcast to your computer. Simply locate the podcast file on your computer and double-click on it. It should begin to play in your music software.

What podcasts are available from the National Museum of American History?

The Museum is currently offering two monthly podcasts. "Prototype Online: Inventive Voices" is a series from the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation featuring interviews and lectures of renowned inventors and innovators. "History Explorer” features Museum staff members discussing their work and projects here at the museum. Accompanying this series are teacher guides, work sheets and images for classroom use. For more educational materials visit the History Explorer website.

Stay tuned! The Museum is exploring additional topics for future podcasts. If you have ideas, please contact us.