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On behalf of the NDSC I welcome you to our new website. It looks only a little different, but it has a shiny new engine underneath, and I hope you find it easy to use and easy to find what you are looking for. For those of you looking for the material from the 2013 Symposium, thank you for your patience. Several things happened that were beyond our control and which delayed the process, but here we are—so enjoy looking for your favorite breakout session, or exploring the ones you were unable to attend.

All the information from the 2013 San Francisco Symposium is posted under the dropdown box at the top called SYMPOSIA. Under that heading you can not only find the current material, but information from the 2011 symposium held in St. Louis.

In ABOUT US you can find out who the Regional Directors are for your area of the country, and you can learn about our history. Also check out the page that tells you how to become a director at NDSC DIRECTOR INFORMATION.

Do you want an idea for a book or movie? We have that too. Take a look at the RESOURCES tab for some other interesting things on our page. And if you don’t see something that you think we should be including, please get in touch with us through our contact page.

We often think of settlers to the new world living in harsh, primitive conditions, and certainly the very first settlers did endure such conditions. But with time, many of them gained immense wealth and through trade with Europe and the Far East, created elegant homes and a lavish life style.

This collection of works was assembled by the Brooklyn Museum in New York and is currently on exhibit until May 18, 2014 at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History. This exhibit allows museumgoers to enter these homes and see what their owners had collected.

The exhibition is organized around an elite Spanish colonial home, allowing docents to lead adults and children through the public rooms, and into the more private areas. Public rooms like the Sala, in which families entertained important guests, were hung with family portraits and decorated with beautifully-crafted imported and locally- produced-luxury items. In these rooms, the family displayed its wealth and position in the world.

For example the portrait (oil on canvas, by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, 1806) of Don Tadeo Bravo de Rivero in full military dress displays the red-cross insignia of the Order of Santiago on his left lapel. Children especially love the dog symbolizing fidelity. Goya inscribed the painting to “my friend Don Tadeo Bravo de Rivero” in place of his signature.

We are pleased to offer so many resources to docents on our website. We want this site to be as dynamic as possible. You can help us. We are interested in what is happening at your museum in your docent program. Docents have a long history of learning from each other. Have you developed a new tour that is working well with adolescents? Do you have some tricks using a new technology? Has your museum recently started a program to evaluate docents that seems to work well? We would love to hear from you. Please write a short article and send it to Kristen Keirsey, Public Relations Chair. Please include your name and museum affiliation and any visual material if you have any (a picture of the author or the museum would be great). We will let you know if your submission needs clarification but leave the rest up to us. This is a great way to connect to docents from all museums and improve the quality of what we do.

This heartwarming article first appeared in our 2008 Newsletter. We publish it again because it illustrates how adaptable and creative docents can be.

The following is an excerpt from an article appearing in an on-line Magazine called Literarymama.com entitled “Doing it Differently – Frida and Me”.  The author, Ona Gritz and her partner Dan, both of whom have disabilities, were given a tour of the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art by Fern Denney who often gives tours at the Museum to blind and visually impaired visitors.

"You've been blind since birth?" she asked Dan easily as she led us toward the exhibit hall. "Okay, so that means you have no knowledge of colors. That's helpful for me to know."

The first painting was titled Self-portrait with Monkeys. I stared at it, realizing that while I'd pored over prints for years, I'd never been in front of an actual Frida Kahlo painting before… Fern described the size of the canvas and indicated, by drawing a line at Dan's chest with her hand, how much of the figure is shown. She had him feel the neckline of my blouse to get an idea of what Frida was wearing and tapped him to show where the monkeys' hands rested on her torso. I was rapt as she built the image detail by detail, finding the precise words for each texture and expression. We then moved on to Frida's wedding portrait with the famous muralist, Diego Rivera. Fern placed my hand over Dan’s to show him how Frida's hand rested on Diego's upturned palm. She and I talked about the difference between this flatter folk style and the three-dimensional quality of the first piece, answering Dan's questions about what shadows look like and how artists use shading to create depth.