The Affective Experience of Historic Trades Interpreters: A Look at Colonial Williamsburg’s Bookbinders

Author: Jessica Schott
Major: History
Approved: Spring 2020
Status: Completed

This project seeks to understand the affective experience of Colonial Williamsburg’s historic trades interpreters, in particular the three interpreters who work in the bookbindery. It builds upon prior scholarship on the experiences of historical interpreters, but focuses specifically on the bookbinding trades interpreters’ experiences. In an interview, the interpreters were asked about their experiences with their job to use as the basis of this analysis. This project examines their provided experiences as interpreters of a historic trade, as little scholarship on interpretation discusses this. Elements of this analysis included their affective experiences with the trade itself, the work of interpreting to the public, and Colonial Williamsburg’s corporate and management. Each of these categories has a number of impacts on their feelings about their jobs, and together they form the basis of the bookbinding interpreters’ affective experience. In order to understand their experiences, research must be done on the trade of bookbinding itself, including the process of premodern bookbinding and its role in material culture of the time. This is a crucial element of the interpreters’ experience, and therefore must be included in this project.

Schott Distinction Project Final