Plimoth Plantation

On October 5, 1988 I was invited by Jay Veevers who managed the public programs at The Mall at Chestnut Hill, in Chestnut Hill, MA to make portraits of actors and members of the Wampanoag tribe who worked at Plimouth Plantation, by the Plymouth Rock where the Pilgrims landed. Their job at Plimouth Plantation is to sound and look like we think the Pilgrims and Indians looked in 1627 and to walk around and do tasks in the replica village. The Mall actually replicated parts of Plimoth Plantation in celebration of Thanksgiving and my portraits were part of the display.

Everyone, the Wampanoags and the actors, came to my studio. I think they all came in costume because I don't remember them putting on make up or changing their clothes in my tiny studio space. I remember that they totally stayed in character, talking to each other in "thee"s and "thou"s and talking to me w/ thee and thou too. And they didn't talk about what was in the day's newspaper or what had been on TV the night before. The conversation was their version of what folks must have been saying 350 years ago. They never tripped up and responded IN THE PRESENT. The actor playing the minister walked up and down the hallway by my studio fingering his tiny Bible. Each actor was playing a distinct historical character, but when I signed the portraits, I used the name of the actor, NOT the historical character. The Wampanoags weren't actors, of course.

These images show young people how historians think the Pilgrims dressed and how they think the Indians dressed around the time of the first Thanksgiving. Teachers and students should feel free to download these images for use in the classroom. Plimoth Plantation has a wonderful elaborate web site for students and teachers at

If you see a picture of yourself on this page, and you do not want it to be here, contact Elsa immediately.