• Seated group NDS 2019
  • Honolulu group NDS 2019
  • Bryan Brooks group NDS 2019
  • Smithsonian African Art group NDS 2019

What’s happening at the NDSC

Madelyn in snow

 The NDSC does not sit idle. Like you, we are busy volunteers in our home institutions... but we are also working hard to “keep the exchange alive” and share timely and relevant resources with you! February is Black History Month and a good time to share our many resources on Diversity and Inclusion.

Pamm Prebil, Gallery Guide at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, shares insights on more inclusive tour practices she has learned from special exhibition trainings. Her article, Black History Month in Museums - What can we learn?,  is just the latest in our series on Diversity and Inclusion.

The DC Symposium featured many presentations on diversity and inclusion. Here are just a few: Interpreting Tough Topics with Dignity; Tackling Diversity and Cultural Sensitivity with Docents;  From Angst to Action: Creating a Docent-led Program to Promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. We have an archive of breakout session materials on this website to inspire and inform you on docent practices.

We are also pleased to introduce you to a fabulous new online resource "Tour Toolkit: Developing an Inclusive Tour." shared with us by the docents and education staff at the Minneapolis Art Institute. The toolkit was compiled from best practices for inclusion and engagement in their training curriculum and tour observations from these last two years. The toolkit is publicly available. We encourage you to check it out!

We welcome your experiences and strategies. Join the conversation and pick the brains of your peers on our Facebook Forum.

Madelyn Mayberry, President, National Docent Symposium Council

By Michelle Carpenter, Vice President, National Docent Symposium Council; Docent, Phoenix Art Museum

For many museums, the winter months signal a slow down in visitors. In the desert Southwest, we are in high gear. As a docent at Phoenix Art Museum for 20 years (how is that possible?!) I love this time of year, when we welcome visitors from near and far. It’s a lively season, and if you have an opportunity to come to Arizona, let me know. I would be happy to show you around PAM.

When I’m not touring students I turn my attention to the NDS Council. As Vice President overseeing the marketing and communications arm of the organization, I have the privilege of working with talented volunteer directors who join me in wanting to provide meaningful resources for all of you.

One of my favorite go-to resources is the Docent Handbook, available now in print and digital formats. Find out more. The Handbook is the NDSC’s primary source of revenue. We are a non-profit organization, so your purchase is a win-win! If you’ve been using the Handbook, we’d love to hear what you think. Post a review on our Amazon page to share your experience, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.your testimonial.

Explore the articles that live within the tabs at the top of this page. How else can we support your touring efforts? What tools and information would you like to see more of that will elevate your practice? Your input helps to guide our efforts. While the Symposium happens once every two years, the NDSC website and private Facebook group - the National Docents Forum - are at your fingertips year round. Visit often and join in.

Learn more about Michelle Carpenter.  

Find PowerPoint Presentations and Handouts from the Washington D.C. Symposium and several past symposia at the Symposia menu tab above or  click here

More Docent News/Sharing Ideas and Experience 

The walls are "talking" at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, Nevada.  Read more about how docents work to translate them for visitors!  

The Docent Handbook 2 

Now available in two versions, digital and print.

For more information and ordering instructions, click this LINK.

Traveling Docents

New Contributions (March 2020)

Many docents are adventurous travelers. We continue a series on docent travels to unique places and interesting museums with a journey to see Ecuador in Murals

Take a video tour of Holland with a docent from Crystal Bridges Museum.

More Travel Stories from Docents: Homes and Historic Sites in the Eastern United StatesAmsterdamTwin CitiesMalta: Scenery, History and Art.  

Be a Resource!  We welcome articles for publication on the NDSC website. 


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