Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design


Historic Costume


Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design

First Advisor

Karl Aspelund


This study sought to determine the dual role of costume in performance beyond that of visual entertainment, both as a creator of "historical" space and as a conduit for the transfer of meaning as observed on costumed guides in the spectacle of guided tours in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts. A series of site visits, tour shadowing, questionnaires and interviews with tour guides and tourists was used to gain an understanding of the way in which costumes assist live performance in creating an educational, historical atmosphere. Conclusions concerning the success of costume as a non-verbal communication tool, a promoter of visibility in an urban landscape, and the trend surrounding the objectification and dehumanization of costumed guides is discussed and analyzed.