Historical Interpreter (PT)

New-York Historical Society Museum & Library

Organization Description: 
Visitors experience 400 years of history through groundbreaking exhibitions, immersive films, and thought-provoking conversations among renowned historians and public figures at the New-York Historical Society, New York’s first museum. A great destination for history since 1804, the Museum and the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library convey the stories of the city and nation’s diverse populations, expanding our understanding of who we are as Americans and how we came to be. The DiMenna Children’s History Museum opened in 2011 and offers family visitors a permanent exhibition (aimed at 7–14-year-olds) and a broad range of New York and American history themed intergenerational family programs (for children as young as 18 months up through 14 years old).

Position Description:
Historical Interpreters lead informal, educational experiences, demonstrations of historical trades and skills, virtual interactive programs, and timed theatrical performances for families in the Museum galleries. Interpreters use period garments, costuming, primary sources, and reproduction touch objects to create impressions of composite individuals from the past. Composite individuals are interpreted by speaking about the past with present-day language, or in third-person. Upcoming impressions include: 18th century female merchants, Chinese exclusion, African Americans in 18th century trades, 19th century weaving, and “The Tiffany Girls: The Women Who Designed and Made Tiffany Lamps.” All impressions are assigned by the Manager of Living History, who provides background material, Living History training, and ongoing support in the development of impressions. This work will typically take place on weekends, school vacation weeks, and holidays.

We are currently seeking Historical Interpreters to bring to life the various stories of people from Black, Latinx, AAPI, and Indigenous communities who lived from the late 18th century through the early twentieth century. Interpreters will be expected to know or learn a historical trade such as, but not limited to weaving, bookbinding, or dressmaking to present to the public in connection with the chosen impression.

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

Reports to:
Manager of Living History

Job Requirements & Responsibilities:
– Lead educational experiences for families with children of all ages through informal interpretations in the Museum galleries, including demonstrations, timed events, and drop in programs;
– Lead educational experiences for families with children of all ages through structured interpretations on digital platforms such as Zoom;
– Wear and interpret historical and reproduction garments, accessories, and/or objects;
– Prepare and maintain program materials for all related programs;
– Learn the basics of assigned historical skills/trades in order to lead demonstrations;
– Represent the Museum with an outgoing and professional demeanor and excellent customer service skills
– Study and review resources as needed to maintain and build your impressions;
– Attend and actively engage in all mandatory trainings;
– Communicate professionally and promptly with program managers(s) about scheduling, program set-up, and other logistics related to all upcoming programs, trainings, and other meetings;
– Additional duties as requested.

Candidate Qualifications:
– Bachelor’s Degree with a concentration in history, museum studies, museum or educational theater, education, art history, or other related disciplines, or equivalent;
– Experience working with children between the ages of 4 and 14;
– Paid or volunteer experience as a museum educator, historical reenactor, costumed interpreter or living historian;
– Availability to work weekends, holidays, and occasional weekdays as needed; and ability to commit to scheduled programs 2-3 months in advance;
– Strong commitment to the ongoing development and study of impressions using resources provided by the Museum or pursued by the candidate;
– Strong commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and antiracism;
– 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.

– 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.

Position Type:

Union Status:

FLSA Status:

Salary or Compensation:
$25/hr for Program Leadership, $18/hr for Administrative Tasks, Training and Program Assistance

Organization or Project Website:

Application Info:
Please follow this link to apply: https://jobapply.page.link/Wu55E

To ensure the overall health and safety of the New-York Historical Society community and in accordance with New York City requirements, all newly hired employees of the New-York Historical Society are required to be fully-vaccinated (inclusive of booster shots) against COVID-19 as a condition of employment, absent qualifying exemptions for medical, religious, or other reasons in accordance with all applicable laws.  

Research shows that women and people from underrepresented groups often apply to jobs only if they meet 100% of the qualifications. We recognize that it is highly unlikely that someone meets 100% of the qualifications for a role. If much of this job description describes you, then please apply for this role.

The New-York Historical Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer.