There have been several recent posts on our NDSC Facebook Forum providing thoughtful responses and comments by our docents and guides to both the Covid-19 pandemic and to the efforts by cultural institutions to respond to the human rights movement that has been growing in the wake of the public killing of George Floyd.
We believe that museums are uniquely in a position, even in these extraordinary times, to be trusted resources to turn to for information and exchange of ideas. The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture has compiled resources in a new web portal, introduced in late May, called “Talking About Race.” We encourage you to explore it and other resources as we pursue the goals of racial understanding, empathy, and cultural competency that are vital to museum educators.
IMPORTANT UPDATE ABOUT KANSAS CITY’S SYMPOSIUM
Leadership for the National Docent Symposium planned for October 2021 in Kansas City has made the difficult decision to postpone the event until Fall of 2022. We are working on details with the Intercontinental Hotel and should have more news soon. STAY TUNED for more information!!
The NDSC board of directors is made up of active docents/guides from cultural institutions throughout the United States - and Canada. One amazing Regional Director, Shelagh Barrington, currently represents all 3.85 million square miles of Canada from Atlantic to Pacific, while also serving as a guide at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Not surprisingly, she could use some help! Read Shelagh's insights here.
NDSC Past President Mina Shea attended the American Alliance of Museums Annual meeting and expo held earlier this month. She called it "a conference of extreme relevance for museum educators." The times we are living in, with a pandemic and protests for greater equity and inclusion, were vividly incorporated in almost every talk presented at the conference. Read Mina's key takeaways here.
The shift from onsite to online programs came quickly at the Meadows Museum, a university art museum devoted to the art and culture of Spain on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Read more from Anne Kindseth, Director of Education at The Meadows, about how the museum launched Tiny Tours, video-based, docent-led talks on single works of art.
When the McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College closed because of Covid-19, docents tried a new method of bringing art education to the public - a virtual tour. Sharon Bazarian, Docent Chair at McMullen, shares the experience and offers some advice and insights. Read it here.
Museum closures may delay but will not stop the work of docents to appeal to more visitors. Read here how docents from museums with different focuses explore unexpected connections.