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  About Our Presenters

Janea Whitacre

Janea is Mistress Milliner and Mantua-maker, in the Department of Historic Trades at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Her research in her trades, their products, and their technologies led to preserving the Trades of Milliner and Mantua-maker by way of Apprenticeship Program, in 1995. In 2005, she was recognized as Master (or Mistress) of her trades. She continues to research and study 18thc clothing as well as the lives, work and successes of her 18thc counterparts. She regularly shares her knowledge through workshops and lectures. She is active in Costume Society of America and local theater and dance costuming. She has appeared on the Mr. Rogers Show, Love of Quilting, and various Colonial Williamsburg productions for television. Her reproductions of 18thc accessories and clothing have been included in museum exhibits from Boston to Los Angeles as well as daily being exhibited at Colonial Williamsburg.

Sarah Woodyard

The design and detail of eighteenth-century women’s dress has always been an inspiration to Sarah. As a practicing Journeywoman Milliner and Mantua-maker at the Margaret Hunter Shop in Colonial Williamsburg she works to preserve and interpret the trades of eighteenth-century needlewomen. Sarah holds a B.S. in Textiles and Clothing from The Ohio State University and is completing her Master of Arts in Material Culture through the University of Alberta. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm for hand-sewing eighteenth-century fashion through lectures, workshops, and daily interpretation to guests at Colonial Williamsburg. Sarah’s (current) favorite garment to study and stitch are eighteenth-century women’s caps. 

 Brooke Welborn

Starting at the age of 7, Brooke worked as an Interpreter and Dancer for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.  After receiving her B.A. from The College of William & Mary, with a major in Theatre focusing on Costume Design and a minor in History, she began a Milliner & Mantua-maker apprenticeship in the Historic Trades Department of Colonial Williamsburg.  She completed her apprenticeship in December 2007 and became a journey-woman in the trades.  During her apprenticeship she studied & reproduced a number of original garments, created custom garments for customers, and assisted in the teaching of a number of workshops with Burnley & Trowbridge.  In the summer of 2008 she moved to Cairo, Egypt where she and her husband taught international studies.  She then moved to Chile where she currently resides. She has traveled world-wide to study fashion extensively in a variety of collections.

Mark Hutter

Mark is the Journeyman Taylor and Supervisor in the Department of Historic Trades at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and serves as a Vice President for the Costume Society of America. For more than twenty-five years he has studied and replicated original 17th through early 19th century garments, in order to document and reconstruct the practices of the tailor’s trade. Mark studies clothing and its creation as a reflection of the broad social, economic, industrial, and political contexts of the age. His current studies focus on the evolution of trade techniques that follow the introduction of the new suit and new fabrics in the third-quarter of the 17th century. As a tradesman and historian Mark shares his knowledge with visitors to Colonial Williamsburg, as well as by teaching the trade in a formal apprenticeship, and in frequent workshops and lectures.

Neal Hurst
Growing up in southeastern Pennsylvania sparked Neal’s interest at an early age in the War for American Independence and material culture.  After high school, Neal worked for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation within the Department of Historic Trades and finished a seven-year apprenticeship earning his journeyman’s papers as a tailor.  Neal received his B.A. in History from the College of William and Mary with High Honors for his senior thesis entitled “a kind of armour, being peculiar to America:” The American Hunting Shirt.  In 2015, Neal graduated with a Master’s degree from the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture completing his thesis entitled, “For the Heat is Beyond your Conception:” Men’s summer dress in the American South During the Long Eighteenth Century.  Neal currently holds the position of Associate Curator of Costume and Textiles at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.  

Michael McCarty

Michael is the newest apprentice tailor at Colonial Williamsburg. He holds a B.S. in theatre from Grand Valley State University, in which he focused on fabrication of costume and props for theatre and film. From 2008 to 2010, he worked as a historical interpreter for Mackinac State Historic Park’s fur trade era fort, Colonial Michilimackinac. He continued to work in theatrical costume shops while seeking opportunities to pursue his growing interest in researching and reproducing clothing as well as other material culture of the 18th and early 19th century. While currently in the first part of his apprenticeship, Michael is looking to focus on men’s club wear of 18th century, and its influence on popular fashion in the American colonies. 


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