How can I connect with other docents?
Our new website (www.nationaldocents.org) includes a Docent Forum to help docents connect with each other in order to ask or answer questions. It is necessary to register to use this forum (click here) Please register so you can participate in this exciting opportunity to meet docents on-line.
Who can attend a National Docent Symposium?
Volunteer docents from every cultural institution, anywhere, may attend the National Docent Symposium. No more than four delegates from one institution may attend. One of these delegates can be staff. If more than four docents and/or staff want to attend, they will be put on a waiting list to see if there is room after the registration is closed.
Who puts on the National Docent Symposium?
The symposium is put on by the docents of a sponsoring institution.
What is the National Docent Symposium Council?
The National Docent Symposium Council was formed to ensure the continuation of the symposia. It consists of two directors from each of the 6 AAM United States districts, two from Canada, and officers and advisors. The NDSC selects symposia sites and guides and supports the host institution. It has published The Docent Handbook and maintains an interactive website: www.nationaldocents.org.
How can I become a Director on the National Docent Symposium Council?
Directors are elected to a four-year term at each symposium. Docents interested in becoming directors must apply to the NDSC. Application forms are on our website. Directors must be active docents, present at the symposium during which they will be selected, and willing to serve at their own expense.
What do I do if I have a docent-related question or problem?
Your first resource is The Docent Handbook which offers a comprehensive guide to being a docent. Click here for a description of the handbook and ordering information.
Our website offers interactive features where docents can pose questions and receive answers from other docents. Questions can also be sent to email@example.com and they will be forwarded to the appropriate director.
How can my institution become the host of a National Docent Symposium?
First, you must let the National Docent Symposium Council know that your institution is interested. (Click on contact us). The site selection committee will then provide you with a list of requirements for a symposium, answer your questions and guide you through the application process. Applications are presented to the NDSC during a symposium and include information about the host museum, its location and other attractions in the area. The application should include a letter of invitation from the director of the host museum and another from the head of the docent corps.
What is the NDSC looking for when they pick a site for their Symposia?
First, there should be one institution that will be the symposium host. This host institution must have a strong docent program. We look for locations that have many different kinds of cultural institutions and an indication that these institutions have or can work well together. There should be easy access to an airport and a hotel capable of hosting the symposium. The NDSC strives to have a variety of locations across the United States and Canada. We would like to give as many locations as possible the opportunity of hosting a Symposium.
Can I get a discount for a large order of The Docent Handbook?
We offer discounts when a case (28) or more is ordered. The discount is substantial: $13.50 for each handbook with postage and insurance extra.
I cannot attend the Symposium. Do you record the sessions? Is there any other way to get symposium information?
We do understand that not everyone can attend our Symposiums. The NDSC does not record sessions, at this point, because of the cost. We are a non-profit organization and it is very expensive.
Roundtable discussions led by NDSC directors are held at each symposium. Summaries of these discussions are posted on our website. The topics vary each symposium but might include some of these:
"Recruitment of Docents"
"Asking the Right Questions on Your Tours"
"Touring Controversial Exhibits"
"Touring With Disabled People"
"Recognition of Docents"
"Docents and Technology"
"Docents in the Community: Outreach Programs"
"Ways to improve Docent and Staff Relationships"
"Dealing with Problem Docents and/or How to Retire Docents, Gently"
"Being a Docent in a Small Museum”
"Retention of Docents”
The NDSC also sponsors sessions at the American Association of Museums Annual Meetings. The AAM does record these sessions. Since 2003 NDSC Directors have presented sessions on Docent training, docent evaluation, docents dealing with change and other sessions. You can go on the AAM website to purchase them. The website is: http://www.aam-us.org/ .