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Something to Look Forward to in 2021!

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri is honored to be hosting the National Docent Symposium in October 2021. We are busy planning a symposium that will provide valuable connections and inspiration for our fellow docents and guides!  The Kansas City National Docent Symposium website is now available at https://www.nationaldocents.org/kc2021/welcome. This site will give you detailed information about the event.  The website will be continually updated to provide current and detailed program information over the next year and a half, so please come back and visit often.  

Kansas City is often called a “great undiscovered gem”  and recently a number of publications have been highlighting Kansas City as an exciting destination to visit.   There are many things to do in Kansas City, home to internationally known museums, fine art galleries and studios, jazz and blues musical venues and of course barbeque!

What do Mickey Mouse, Multiplex Movie Theaters and Bumper Stickers all have in common? They can all trace their inspirational birthplace to Kansas City.  These are a few of the facts you can discover about Kansas City when you visit the Kansas City dedicated Google Arts & Culture platform page at https://artsandculture.google.com/project/kansascity. (We are proud that Google chose Kansas City to be the first city in the United States to be featured!) This site has a wealth of information to introduce you to the city known as “The Paris of the Plains.”

We are looking forward to having you join us in Kansas City on October 20 – 23, 2021 to be a part of the excitement!

Anne Kindseth, Director of Education, Meadows Museum (Summer 2020)

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. As the world changed, the museum’s education staff sought to maintain opportunities for service and continued community for their docent corps. Rather than cancel the remainder of docent training for the year, staff moved the training sessions online and the museum continued to enlist docents to serve the public through online programs and a new initiative called Tiny Tours.

The concept for Tiny Tours emerged quickly. Within the first week of working from home, Anne Kindseth, Director of Education, and Kayle Rieger Patton, Education & Accessibility Manager, recognized that the docents were more critical to the museum than ever. Their deep knowledge of the collection and expertise in offering engaging talks about works of art made them key to the museum’s ability to produce a substantial volume of new online content. Education staff pitched the idea for video-based, docent-led talks on single works of art to the museum’s Docent Advisory Council (DAC) and soon thereafter Tiny Tours was launched. 

By Sharon Bazarian, Communications Facilitator, NDSC

As Administrator of the National Docents Forum Facebook group, I have been quietly behind the scenes asking questions, posting images and playing games such as Name the Artist. While there has been positive response to that engagement, there are many ways we can create value for this group. So I’m coming out to let you know that there’s a real person working on this page, and I would love to draw the curtain: my name is Sharon Bazarian, and I’m a docent at Boston College McMullen Museum of Art.

The docents on the Forum are fantastic and we’ve grown from 500 members in January to nearly 700 today. In this short amount of time, we have come to know each other and build friendships. We are docents and guides throughout the U.S. and Canada with vital, interesting backgrounds, and I look forward to continuing to build this community. Now more than ever we need to stay connected. I’m happy that this venue can fill a void many of us are feeling as our beloved museums and gardens are temporarily closed.

The Forum is a place where we come together with common goals, to learn from each other and fine-tune our docent skills through conversation. We can discover things within us as we relate to objects, stories, and experiences shared by others. And, we can help each other when we’re stumped on a touring issue; it’s crowd sourcing at its finest! With hundreds of members, there are a myriad of solutions and suggestions to help us all.

Feel free to propose topics for discussion, ask questions or just say hello! The curtain is pulled back; now’s the time for us all to shine.

If you are a docent/guide or staff member who works with docents/guides, please join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/NationalDocentsForum/. Once you have requested membership, you will be asked three questions before being admitted to the group. We are excited to meet you!

More Docent News/Sharing Ideas and Experience 

Docent Enrichment in the Age of Social Distancing

Docents are life-long learners.  When the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore closed to the public on March 13, 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, docents at the Walters Art Museum learned to operate in new ways, using an online platform to continue socializing, learning and planning for the future.    Read more.



The Docent Handbook 2 

Now available in two versions, digital and print.

For more information and ordering instructions, click this LINK.

Traveling Docents

New Contributions (March 2020)

Many docents are adventurous travelers. We continue a series on docent travels to unique places and interesting museums with a journey to see Ecuador in Murals

Take a video tour of Holland with a docent from Crystal Bridges Museum.

More Travel Stories from Docents: Homes and Historic Sites in the Eastern United StatesAmsterdamTwin CitiesMalta: Scenery, History and Art.  

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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