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Almost 40 years ago, the tradition of the National Docent Symposium began. First hosted in 1981 by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the NDS has since welcomed over 6,000 docents and guides from institutions across the U.S. and Canada. Today, our reach goes beyond this biennial event to educate, inspire and foster connections that enrich our docent practice and sense of community. As the only national organization run by and for docents, we strive to meet your unique and evolving needs.

This year, we're proud to join the Giving Tuesday campaign on December 1, a global day of gratitude and giving back. We are thankful for our docent peers who have blazed the trail, those who serve alongside us, and those who will be drawn to this "calling" to share their passion with others. Share your favorite memory or experience with the NDSCThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - we want to celebrate YOU.

We believe that docents and guides thrive when they have opportunities to learn, share and connect. Help us continue to provide these opportunities. Join our campaign now through the end of the year. In thanks for your contribution, we have some new and exciting ways to give back to you! Find out more here


Embracing Change Together!

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The National Docent Symposium Council convened by Zoom on October 27 and 28 to conduct our annual business meeting. Usually, in the off-year between symposia, we would have been planning for next year - "all hands on deck in support of the upcoming symposium." As we all know, this has not been the usual year.  NDSC President Madelyn Mayberry reflects on this unusual meeting and the excitement we feel for the coming year.  Read Madelyn's reflections here.  

Reimagining the Future

An Interview with Tom Loughman, Director and CEO of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

Tom Loughman discusses how museums might reimagine their relationship with audiences in light of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. He identifies unexpected opportunities that have emerged from the COVID-19 shutdown and the ways in which museum leaders are thinking deeply and broadly about the role docents play in the future. He addresses what docents and guides can do to prepare for serving the public and our institutions. As an organization run by docents for docents, we asked Loughman what resources he thinks the NDSC should focus on providing that would have the most impact now and going forward.  NDSC Regional Director Joanne Eudy conducts this fascinating interview.  Watch it here!



On Making More of a Difference

Docents and guides strive to make a difference in the experience of visitors, sharing new perspectives and inspiring new connections between what's on view and what's in the world.  We make even more of a difference when we help each other to learn, share and connect.  Eric Timmreck, NDSC Regional Director for the Mountain Plains region and docent at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, reflects on how we can do and be more.  Read Eric's insights here.  


Staying Connected with a Docent Share-a-Thon

Phoenix Art Museum Docent Cindy Moore jumped at the chance to participate in a summer project led by Docents to research and share information about artworks in the collection: “I had fun choosing a painting, learning about the artist and her technique, and thinking of touring ideas. Being able to work independently and then share our discoveries through Zoom discussions and a pdf library was truly gratifying during the Coronavirus lockdown."  Read about the Share-a-thon here.  

The Docent Handbook 2 

Now available in two versions, digital and print.

For more information and ordering instructions, click this LINK.

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

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


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