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interchangeInclusion and DiversityCreating space for multiple and diverse voices

Cultural institutions across North America are working to diversify their audiences and become more inclusive and welcoming places for everyone. The role of the docent or guide is becoming more dynamic. We begin a series of articles from docents, guides and educators about Inclusion and Diversity initiatives taking place in their institutions and how the docent's role is evolving as a result. We hope that these articles will provide you with ideas and examples on the training, touring and engagement skills required in this new vision of a cultural place.


A Docent Corps Story of Diversity, Inclusion and Retention @ the High Museum in Atlanta by Bryan Brooks

A Docent Perspective from the Art Gallery of Ontario responding to the changing population of her city by Shelagh Barrington

A Docent Educator on Training, Andrew Palamara talks about Sharing Authority: Creating Inclusive Dialogue in the Museum

We welcome your docent ideas and experiences. Share them by:

-- submitting an article to info@nationaldocents.org 

-- joining the National Docents Forum Facebook groupan interactive forum for docents and guides. 

Mina Shea, President, National Docent Symposium Council

March is Woman's History month and a very busy time at The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Recently celebrating its 30th anniversary, the museum is home to over 5000 works of art by 1000 artists dating from the Renaissance to the present day. Along with the permanent collection and the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center, there are several spaces for special exhibitions. On view until May 28 is Women House featuring work by 36 artists including Judy Chicago, Louise Bourgeois, and Niki de Saint Phalle. Also on view are prints by Chinese-born artist Hung Liu through July 8th.

Or, What it's Like to Have One of the Longest Titles Ever: Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum (NASM)

Being a volunteer at the Smithsonian Institution, the largest museum complex in the world, is an honor no matter what role you play. For me, best of all is being a NASM Docent. As a child a family vacation to Washington DC gave me my first exposure to the Smithsonian and the Air and Space Museum. From that time on I knew aviation and the Smithsonian would both be in my life. My military and civilian career path never led to a job with the Smithsonian. However, I did serve in the US Air Force and got my private pilot's license. Then, as soon as I became eligible to retire, I purposely scheduled my retirement date for a Friday and started volunteering at the Smithsonian that following Monday.

As a Kramer Grant* first-time attendee to the Montreal 2017 National Docent Symposium, I was energized! I was looking forward to learning a lot during the breakout sessions, museum tours and the keynote breakfast talk and as a 20-year docent at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey, I was also looking forward to the opportunity to share my own docent experiences. And what a great four days of sharing it was!

First, I should start out by saying that 2017 was a great year to experience both Canada and Montreal. Canada celebrated 150 years of confederation, and Montreal celebrated its 375th birthday.

The opening night NDS cocktail party, at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art (MMFA) was a celebration of food, music and art. Located less than a 10-minutes' walk from the hotel, the walk to MMFA allowed me to enjoy a variety of terrific public artwork.

The Freer Gallery of Art, in Washington, D.C., re-opened to the public on 14 October after undergoing over 18 months of infrastructure repair. The Freer, along with the Sackler Gallery, comprise the Asian Art Museums of the Smithsonian Institution. The re-opening included a two-day "IlluminAsia" festival. It was 'all hands on deck' for the Freer|Sackler docent corps as the celebratory re-opening brought approximately 50,000 people to events both inside and outside the museum. Docents provided in-gallery interpretation, acted as 'way finders', and supervised activities for both adults and children during the weekend. Activities included an Asian night market on the National Mall, so popular that the food stalls sold out on the first day, requiring the chefs to stay up all night preparing food for the next day.

Sixty-one artist ensembles and community organizations participated during the Opening Weekend.

Format: Hardback
Pages: 296 pp
Illustrations: 240 illustrations
ISBN: 9780714873510

"Color is stronger than language. It's a subliminal communication," writes artist Louise Bourgeois as quoted in the introduction to Chromaphilia.

This handsome and compelling book uses 240 artworks as case studies to tell the story of ten individual colors or color groups. It explores the history and meaning of each color in art, highlighting fascinating tales of discovery and artistic passion, and offering easily understood explanations of the science and theory behind specific colors. From Isaac Newton's optics to impressionist theory, from the dynamics of Josef Albers to the contemporary metaphysics of Olafur Eliasson, this book shows how color paints our world.

The revised edition of our popular docent handbook - The Docent Handbook 2 - is now available for purchase. This valuable resource for docents, guides and interpreters from museums and cultural institutions of all types in the US and Canada is a stimulating and informative "nuts and bolts" manual.

Read what purchasers have to say about The Docent Handbook 2

For more information and ordering instructions, click this LINK

Find PowerPoint Presentations and Handouts at the Symposia menu tab above or  click here

If you are looking for an art related read for your book club, you'll find book reviews by clicking this LINK Movie suggestions are here too. 

Recommended websites and blogs are found under Resources, click this LINK to learn more.

Share your book and movie recommendations and online favorites by email to info@nationaldocents.org 

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