Rare Opportunity: Silversmith Apprenticeship at Colonial Williamsburg

The primary function of the Apprentice Silversmith is to rediscover, learn and preserve the varied trade skills of the 18th century silversmith, including  becoming relatively proficient in the related skills of chasing, engraving, foundry work, and the casting and finishing of pewter, and to interpret those skills to the public both orally and written. The apprentice must become proficient in these skills so that he/she can eventually help teach future apprentices, insuring the trade is perpetuated.

  • Learns and develops proficiency in the skills of the 18th century silversmith’s trade, including becoming relatively proficient in the related skills of chasing, engraving, foundry work, and the casting and finishing of pewter, Increases knowledge in each skill area and uses that information to expand interpretation to the guests, gained through completing work assignments outlined in the Silversmiths Trade Skills Curriculum.
  • Works on trade projects to refine and practice skills in both silverwork and foundry work as assigned by the Master Silversmith.
  • Provides in-depth interpretations on the silversmithing/foundry trades, its history, and its products and services in the community, region, and the world; the technology, processes, skills organization and the working environment of the trades: the lives and times of those who pursued the trades; the evolution of the trades; relationships between trades, etc., with the emphasis on the 1607-1781 time period to a variety of audiences in a variety of settings.
  • Assists with in-depth seminars, workshops, and/or forums dealing with the trades.
  • Helps to produce custom orders and products for the Golden Ball store.
  • Researches available information on the trades and practitioners of the trades; works with representatives of the department and representatives of other departments in developing recommendations on new and/or varied interpretive programs. Under Master or journeyman’s supervision, helps train and provides work direction for new apprentices. Gives presentations on research as appropriate.
  • Follows safety and security procedures established for the site, tools, materials, and equipment, and ensures said procedures are followed in the absence of the master and journeyman.
  • When called upon, represents the trades on departmental, divisional, and Foundation committees.
  • Instructs other Foundation employees on the history of the trades and in ways to interpret the trade skills and its products.
  • Performs other related duties as required. 

  • Basic knowledge of the 18th century silversmiths/ founders trade with emphasis on techniques and history; ability to clearly interpret historical information to the public; ability to conduct in-depth research into the trade and present results in an effective manner, both oral and written-generally gained through a high school degree/G.E.D., college degree, or three years progressive experience working with the trade; previous public contact experience
  • Must provide examples of trade work relating to some aspect of metalwork, or work that shows hand-eye coordination and familiarity with detail work
  • Must be able to do or learn to do strenuous physical work in all weather conditions, including but not limited to lifting anvils in excess of fifty pounds, forging ingots with sledge hammers, working at a forge fire, melting and pouring metals, drawing wire, and hours and hours of hammering;
  • Willingness to commit to an approximately 6 year apprenticeship training program, with the goal of attaining journeyman silversmith skill level.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Four year degree in metalsmithing, art, or on subject relating to the silversmiths/goldsmiths, founders trade.
  • The ability to draw well.


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