Costume Technician

Position Summary

The Costume Technician, under the direction of the Historical Clothing & Textiles Supervisor, will support the day-to-day needs of our costumed Public History Performers in the 17th-Century English Village and other textile needs across the living history sites. This is a hands-on job in an energizing and collaborative environment. Much of the work during the spring, summer, and autumn focuses on issuing, mending, and making or altering reproduction clothing and household textiles for our staff and sites. The outdoor sites are closed for the winter, and work largely centers on organizing, cleaning, and preparation for the following season during that time. We will provide on the job training in the details and techniques particular to 17th-century costuming, but a strong candidate will come armed with confident skills in machine and hand sewing/finishing, and an eye for organization. A successful Costume Technician will be inquisitive, open to feedback, and communicative as part of a team.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Pulling, laundering, mending, organizing, altering, and/or constructing garments or reproduction textiles for costumed staff or historic sites.

  • Assisting in preparing and tracking projects given to volunteers or contractors.

  • Accurately using or altering patterns to construct historical costumes or textiles.

  • Using industrial sewing equipment (sewing machines, sergers, and irons) and sewing by hand using needle and thread.

  • Participating in fittings and making necessary adjustments to garments.

  • Ensuring issued items, to the best of abilities and availability, outwardly reflect historically-appropriate choices while balancing 21st-century needs.

  • Participating in maintaining accurate records of departmental activities, including inventory of textile-related items issued to costumed staff or historic sites.

  • Assisting in wardrobe support during film or media opportunities, or special public programs.

  • Assisting in research to improve and expand current and new garments and programming as necessary, when time allows and/or when directed by the manager and/or supervisor.

  • Building strong, professional relationships with staff, volunteers, and outside organizations or vendors.

  • Providing polished and engaging experiences for museum guests when in front of the public.

  • Occasionally demonstrating historical techniques or participating in public outreach activities on the museum’s campus or other locations.

This description is not intended to be a complete list of all responsibilities, duties, skills, requirements or working conditions associated with the job. While this is intended to be an accurate reflection of key responsibilities of the job as it is at present, management reserves the right to revise the job or to require that other or different tasks be performed as assigned. This job description may be reviewed by management at any time either to ensure that it relates to the job currently being performed, or to incorporate changes. Management reserves the right to change a job description; and if/when doing so will discuss with the employee so that any changes are understood by the employee.

Required Skills

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Demonstrated skills, abilities, and knowledge related to costume or clothing construction both with machine and by hand.

  • Knowledge of the qualities of different fibers and fabrics.

  • Strong familiarity with and comfort using industrial sewing equipment, hand sewing tools, and washers and dryers.

  • Strong interest in historical costume and fashion.

  • Willingness to to learn historical techniques and apply them appropriately.

  • Ability to work safely, cleanly, and efficiently.

  • Willingness to ask questions and receive constructive feedback.

  • Ability to follow instructions and apply learned information.

  • Ability to handle information with discretion and tact.

  • Courteousness and a positive attitude

  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team

  • Ability to engage with museum guests.

  • Dependability, punctuality, and patience.

  • Fluency in English with an ability to communicate skillfully, both verbally and written, with a wide range of people from different cultural and social backgrounds, of varying ages, language skills and physical abilities

  • Must be available to work occasional evenings, weekend days, and/or holidays. Flexibility in work hours and days off is required.

Preferred Skills

  • Demonstrated skills, abilities, and knowledge related to pattern making, fitting, and altering.

  • Valid driver’s license

  • Experience with pre-industrial costuming

  • Experience with felt hat making or shoe/leather repair

  • Familiarity with knitting, weaving, or cord making

  • Prior work experience in theatrical, film, or historical costume shops (any position)

Education and Experience

  • A high school diploma or equivalent required;

  • Prior professional training (such as through school or apprenticeship) in costume production or functional garment construction preferred.

Physical Requirements

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of the job. Duties may include:

  • There can be significant repetitive or strenuous motion necessary to accomplish certain tasks.

  • Should be capable of lifting and moving objects sometimes in excess of 30 pounds.

  • Work sitting, standing, kneeling, or bent over, sometimes for extended periods of time.

  • Must be comfortable working with furs, leather, and wool, as well as textile related chemicals including but not limited to dyes, bleach, detergents, and glues.

  • Must be able to sew through thick or dense materials.

Work Environment

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.

  • The Historical Clothing & Textiles shop is in a climate controlled, well-lit wing of the Greenwood Building.

  • Work occurring on the historic sites (such as the 17th-Century English Village) is not climate controlled and may occur outdoors in a variety of weather conditions, in dusty and smoky environments, in poorly lit areas, near open fires, and in cramped and crowded places.

  • The noise level in indoor demonstration or education spaces varies from quiet to loud (voices) and is a modern, climate controlled and well lit building.

Additional Requirements

The Museum is open 7 days a week April through the end of November. You must be available to work Saturdays, Sundays and some holidays, including Thanksgiving Day. Typical hours during the Museum’s Open Season (March-November) are 9:00am - 5:00pm, five days a week through the end of November, and 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Monday – Friday from December through March. Flexibility in work hours and days off is required. Depending on the season, this position may include working additional night/weekend hours or days as needed.

Core Commitment

Whether part-time or full-time, year-round or seasonal, all staff and volunteers at Plimoth Patuxet advance the Museum’s educational mission and strategic goals; they uphold the museum’s core values and principles in their work and in all their interactions with the public and coworkers. This commitment helps to ensure that Plimoth Patuxet’s reputation for excellence is maintained and that we, as stewards of the Museum, are helping to create a relevant and sustainable future for Plimoth Patuxet. The core principles that guide us in our work are:

  • Safety and Comfort

  • Compassionate Customer Engagement

  • Professional Excellence

  • Personal Accountability

  • Create a Culture of Philanthropy

  • Teamwork

Portfolio of Work

Interested candidates should include their portfolio of work, along with all other with all other required materials

Interested candidates are encouraged to apply by submitting a PDF file of your resume, and cover letter to apply@plimoth.org, or by submitting them by US mail to the following address:

Plimoth Patuxet Museums
Attn: Human Resources
137 Warren Avenue
Plymouth, MA 02360