Auburn company wins Webby for tour of the Capitol

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LEWISTON — Chris Carson didn’t bother opening the FedEx package meant to deliver the news until the phone began ringing with congratulations.

The Auburn-based founder and president of CampusTours.com — a company that creates online tours for colleges and other institutions — learned Tuesday that he and his company won the Internet’s biggest award, the Webby.

The award went to CampusTours’ online creation for the Architect of the Capitol, a website that features video, an interactive timeline and more than 4,000 images. Some of the pictures and drawings have rarely been seen outside protected archives.

The project was nominated in the government category, alongside NASA’s website and an exploration of the solar system created by the Jet Propulsion Lab.

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“Usually, we work somewhat invisibly,” Carson said. His team of 18 staffers — located in Maine, Massachusetts, Virginia and Florida — took 10 months to build the site, www.capitol.gov.

“This is something that only happens to you once,” Carson said.

He plans to attend the Webby’s Manhattan gala on June 13. Awards will be given in almost 70 categories. Other honorees this year include the New York Times, Lego.com, comedian Zach Galifianikis and teen idol Justin Bieber. 

Carson said he had given little thought to his speech, which is a key part of the eccentric awards ceremony. Speeches are limited to five words.

Carson said he had talked with people at the Capitol about the project and the speech. They were very happy with the honor, having encouraged Carson to enter the project.

Capitol officials can attend the gala, but the speech and its content will be up to Carson.

“They said, ‘As long as it’s not political, we don’t care what you say,'” Carson said.

dhartill@sunjournal.com

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