About Our Presenters

Brooke Welborn
Brooke is the workshop manager and assistant to the principals for Burnley & Trowbridge Co. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from The College of William & Mary, where she focused on Costume Design & construction and a minor in History. After university she apprenticed as a Milliner & Mantua-maker in the Historic Trades Department of Colonial Williamsburg, receiving her journey-woman paper in 2007. Brooke’s continuing focus is the cut, fit & construction of 18th Century women’s gowns & jackets, especially that of the Polonaise which she has written & published on.

Neal Hurst
Since a young age, Neal has had a lifelong interest in history and material culture.  After graduating high school, Neal joined the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, working within the Department of Historic Trades and completing a seven-year apprenticeship earning his journeyman’s papers as a tailor. He received his B.A. in History from the College of William and Mary in 2013, earning High Honors for his senior thesis: “a kind of armour, being peculiar to America:” The American Hunting Shirt.  In 2015, Neal received his M.A. degree from the University of Delaware’s, Winterthur Program in American Material Culture.  He worked as the Associate Curator for the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia for their 2017 inaugural permanent exhibition.  Neal currently holds the position of Associate Curator of Costume and Textiles at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.


Melissa Mead
Melissa has been textile oriented, sewing and designing, for as long as she can remember. She holds a BA in Apparel Design from Kansas State University and has worked for the Colonial Williamsburg Costume Design Center for 16 years where she is currently in charge of the Accessories Department. She has recreated everything from Pocahontas’ wedding  ensemble to the embroidery of Thomas Jefferson’s waistcoat. In addition, she has served as the costumer in a variety of theatrical and video productions. As an award winning lace-maker who specializes in tatting, Melissa is a member of the Colonial Lacemakers of Williamsburg. Finally, to the grief of her long suffering husband, she has spent way too much money at Burnley and Trowbridge, has taken way too many B&T workshops and has even helped man the B&T tent at living history events.

Christina Johnson
Christina inherited her love of handwork from her grandfather and learned to sew when she was eleven years old in order to make her first "historical" outfit (eleven year olds aren't necessarily the best researchers!). She took her first B&T workshop over eleven years ago and hasn't looked back. Since 2015 she has been making video tutorials for Burnley and Trowbridge in support of the company's commitment to education and perpetuation of historic fashion. She is a licensed educator and holds a B.A. in English and Education with master's work completed in Educational Technology, Research, and Assessment. Formerly a public school educator and librarian and then an apprentice Milliner & Mantua-maker, she now works as an assistant to Angela and Jim at Burnley and Trowbridge where she handles photography/videography and whatever else gets thrown her way. She is a crazy dog lady, PC gamer, and probably loves technology almost as much as good linen.