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Living Historian (Part-Time) at the New-York Historical Society

  • 12 Jul 2018 2:11 PM
    Message # 6378810

    DEPARTMENT:  DiMenna Children’s History Museum

    REPORTS TO:  Coordinator of Living History Programs

    New-York Historical Society, a preeminent educational and research institution, is home to both New York City’s oldest museum and to one of the nation’s most distinguished independent research libraries. N-YHS is dedicated to presenting exhibitions and public programs, and fostering research that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, its holdings cover four centuries of American history, and include one of the world’s greatest collections of books, manuscripts, graphic materials, historical artifacts, and American art documenting the history of the United States as seen through the prism of New York.

    The New-York Historical Society seeks dynamic educators to join the family programs team to lead Living History programs and assist with additional family programs. This work will usually take place on weekends, school vacation weeks, and holidays.

    Living Historians primarily lead educational experiences for families in the Museum galleries while dressed in historical clothing. In addition to period garments, they use accessories, dialogue, and activities from the past to create impressions of individuals from certain periods in time. Impressions can be of specific and/or composite individuals and each Living Historian will have a variety of impressions they portray. Past impressions have included women suffragists (1910-1920), Harriet Tubman (1849-1865), and Pinkerton Detectives (Mid-19th Century). All impressions are assigned by the Living History Coordinator, who provides background material, Living History training, and ongoing support in the development of impressions.

    We are currently seeking Living Historians to portray various impressions of African Americans who lived between 1860 and 1920 in conjunction with our upcoming temporary exhibition, Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow (on view September 7, 2018–March 3, 2019). As this is an ongoing position, these Living Historians will also be assigned additional impressions related to our permanent collection and future exhibitions after March 2019.

    Applicants must be comfortable interacting with visitors both ‘in-character’ and as educators, especially when portraying a specific individual. Composite individuals are usually portrayed by speaking about the past with present-day language, or in third-person.

    In addition to the above responsibilities, Living Historians will be expected to assist with additional family programs such as birthday parties, history holiday programming, and drop-in weekend activities, on an as needed basis.

    $25/hr for program leadership and $18/hr for training, prep, and program assistance.


    Candidates must hold a Bachelor’s Degree. Concentration in acting, museum or educational theater, history, museum studies, art history, African American studies, or other related disciplines preferred.

    Qualified candidates will have:

    • Experience working with children between the ages of 4 and 14.
    • Paid or volunteer experience as a historical reenactor, costumed interpreter, living historian, or actor in period productions.
    • Strong commitment to the ongoing development and study of impressions using resources provided by the Museum or pursued by the candidate.
    • Ability to provide your own historical garments preferred.
    • Expertise in a historical skill, trade, or craft related to current impressions a plus.
    • Experience engaging visitors with disabilities a plus.
    • Bilingual abilities a plus.


    • Must maintain flexible schedule; availability to work weekends, holidays, and occasional weekdays as needed; and ability to commit to scheduled programs months in advance.
    • Educate families with children of all ages through informal, interactive, drop-in activities in the Museum galleries and other spaces.
    • Wear and interpret historical and reproduction garments, accessories, and/or objects.
    • Be outgoing and professionally represent the Museum with excellent visitor service.
    • Professionally and promptly communicate with program coordinator(s) about scheduling, preparations, and other logistics related to all upcoming programs, trainings, and other meetings.
    • Attend trainings and study and review resources as needed to maintain and build your impressions.
    • Prepare program materials for all programs you lead or assist with.
    • Assist with additional family programs as needed.
    • Additional duties as requested.

    Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee with or without accommodation, to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.

    Work involves moving throughout the Museum, lifting program materials and wearing historical garments (up to 30 lbs), and performing other similar actions while historically costumed for long periods of time.


    For consideration, please send a cover letter and resume to resumes@nyhistory.org.  Please reference the job title in the subject line.

    The New-York Historical Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer

An organization of people who bring history to life

ALHFAM • P.O. Box 16, Rochdale, MA 01542 - info@alhfam.org

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