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Full Time Apprentice Gardener

  • 22 Jun 2018 9:46 AM
    Message # 6332662

    An apprentice gardener learns the plants, tools and cultural techniques required to manage a garden of the colonial period.  This work is accomplished in a public venue that recreates the trade of a professional gardener and demonstrates the knowledge and materials of the colonial period.  The apprentice will provide a pro-active interpretation of the garden work, provide interpretive assistance to employees in the garden shop and maintain the nursery plant inventory.  The apprentice is able to interpret American history themes relative to the interpretive programs at Colonial Williamsburg and participates in research and preservation of the trade skills as practiced in 18th century Virginia.  The apprentice will provide exceptional guest customer service.


    Trade Skills 

    • Learns and develops proficiency in the skills of tending vegetable, fruit and ornamental gardens with eighteenth-century methods and materials under the direction of the master/journeyman.
    • Acquires a basic knowledge of all plants at the interpretive site as well as conspicuous plants throughout Colonial Williamsburg properties.
    • Demonstrates a familiarity with and anticipates seasonal changes in work responsibilities
    • Maintains tools and work space under direction of master/journeyman.    
    • Assists with seminars, workshops, and lectures related to 18th century horticulture.


    • Provides historical information about gardening to include plant identification, exploration, introduction and cultural techniques in Virginia and how the trade was influenced by European precedence.    
    • Provides biographical information about notable gardeners, nurserymen and botanists of colonial America    
    • Recreates the work environment of an eighteenth-century professional gardener using the clothing, tools, and materials provided.
    • Involves families and their children in interactive programs.
    • Presents pro-active interpretations of historical information to support historic area themes.


    • Studies historical documents and information about the trade and its practitioners in North America and Europe to become proficient in the knowledge and understanding of the period and people.
    • The progression of the apprenticeship is based on the successful demonstration of horticultural skills and knowledge represented by work in the garden and a research project as defined by the apprentice curriculum and overseen by the master/journeyman-supervisor. 

    Additional responsibilities

    • Works with members of other Colonial Williamsburg departments in a One Foundation effort to accomplish common goals.
    • Co-operates with the Landscape Department in documenting and acquiring plants for display in historic area gardens and for sale at garden shop.
    • Acquires Pesticide Applicator license and ensures that all safety and security procedures are followed.
    • Acquires Colonial Williamsburg driving license and maintains driving record as per policy.
    • Performs other duties as required.

    Job Requirements:

    • Ability to meet the physical requirements of the trade which may include: digging, lifting, working outside, working with power tools and machinery (drills, chainsaws)
    • Ability to perform repetitive work safely with traditional 18-century tools and equipment
    • Ability to work under extreme weather conditions from freezing cold temperatures, well over 100 degrees and heavy pollen 
    • Must perform physical activities such as repeated standing, kneeling/squatting, lifting, stooping and moving up to 75 pounds
    • Be able to drive large vehicles, used in landscape which include, large vans, trucks and dump trucks


    • Basic understanding of horticulture achieved by experience in a gardening discipline. 
    • Ability to clearly interpret historical information to the public and to conduct in-depth research into the trade and present results in an effective manner, oral and written – generally gained through a high school degree/G.E.D. and previous public contact experience.
    • Must be able to do strenuous physical work in all weather conditions.
    • Must be able to commit to multi-level apprentice training program
    • Must be able to work a flexible schedule; including evenings, weekends, and holidays.


    • Four-year degree in American History or Botany/Horticulture or on subject matter relating to the 18th century and/or the plant sciences.
    • Previous living history museum experience; previous work leadership or supervisory responsibilities
    • Familiarity with the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Trades program.

An organization of people who bring history to life

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

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