While 2020 brought challenges and uncertainty, there was also much to be thankful for. In November we joined the Giving Tuesday campaign to raise funds to help the NDSC sustain and expand the resources we provide. We are immensely grateful for your support and are exploring how we can make an even greater impact on the docent community this coming year.
Our Facebook group, the National Docents Forum, grew exponentially to over 1000 members. It became a hub for docents and guides across the U.S. and Canada to learn, share and connect. We were all faced with the unknown as our institutions closed during the pandemic. Through the Forum members have been able to "docent" with each other, developing and presenting virtual tours for fellow guides, sharing new projects, and exchanging ideas on how to move forward.
The skills we have learned to reach our audiences and our colleagues digitally will continue to serve us well. Virtual outreach is here to stay, and the NDSC is embracing this new opportunity to help the docent and guide community remain vital and prepared. We are excited to create regional conversations, online workshops and website articles that inform and inspire. Plans are under way for the 2022 National Docent Symposium in Kansas City and we will have news to share soon!
Innovative programs that promote diversity continue to evolve. For three decades, the Saint Louis Art Museum has led the way with a Fellowship model that guides and supports aspiring museum professionals like Jennifer Doyle (pictured here). Now, in 2021 the Museum has published a sweeping report on DEAI and is preparing to host a digital conference to further the conversation. Read Bill Sitzer's report here.
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.
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!
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.