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New Articles in the Series (May/June 2018)

DiversityInclusion 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 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.

New Articles about Inclusion and Diversity Initiatives:

Museum Tours for Students who have Autism: Full-inclusion classrooms as well as special programs bring students into the museum who present challenges different from those we may have seen on our tours in the past. Deb Hansen, a docent at the Des Moines Art Center, provides lots of useful information, tips, and resources. Read it here

In St. Louis and Baltimore Docent Groups participated in forums on "Inclusivity" 

• The Docent Council of Metropolitan St. Louis participated in an "Accessibility and Inclusivity Forum." Gin Wachter, a docent at the St. Louis Art Museum summarizes the forum and explains follow-up steps St. Louis organizations have taken. Read it here

Creating Cultural Contexts: The Walters Art Museum sponsored a series of lectures which challenge docents to consider how they can do more to make sure that all visitors to the museum feel welcome, represented and understood. Sheila Vidmar, a docent at the Walters explains. Read it here.

Find all articles on inclusion and diversity here

 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

Insight from the Council 

Madelyn Mayberry, Vice President, National Docent Symposium Council (June 2018)

The Directors of the National Docent Symposium Council (NDSC) not only are active docents in their respective cultural institutions but they are frequent and ongoing participants in the symposia over many years. They offer their insight from their experiences at the symposia and how the NDSC offers cultural institutions throughout the United States and Canada an excellent forum for the exchange of new ideas and best practices.

Thinking about submitting a proposal for a presentation at the next symposium to be held in Washington D.C. in 2019? Get some insider tips from the National Docent Symposium Council members who have attended and benefited from numerous symposia. Our Vice President, Madelyn Mayberry offers her insight on What Makes a Great Breakout Session

Many docents are adventurous travelers. We begin a new series on docent travels to unique places and interesting museums with a trip to Doha, which you can find here. 


As museum educators, we're often worried about what's next: upcoming exhibitions, our next tour, planning special programs, etc. But if we open our minds to a different understanding of time, can we form a new relationship with the future?

Art, science, and Eastern philosophies offer a key to unlocking this possibility and we are exploring all these perspectives at the Rubin Museum of Art in 2018. This entire year will focus on reframing our relationship with the future and engaging visitors through future-themed exhibitions, programs, tours, and events.This was a welcome challenge when planning for docent trainings. My goal was to prepare our team to engage with visitors through the lens of Future, encouraging them to consider their hopes and anxieties and learn how concepts in Buddhism and Hinduism can help them expand their understanding.

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.

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

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