• KC skyline
  • Nelson Atkins reflection
  • KC fountain
  • KC Station Night View
  • Nelson Atkins Docents at Symposium
  • KC Shuttlecock

September is traditionally an active month for docents and guides, as continuing education resumes after the summer, new docents begin training, tours and offsite presentations abound, and we gather with our fellow guides to learn and laugh together. Despite the uncertainty we have experienced over the past eighteen months, we continue to find ways to stay connected, keep our skills fresh, and reach audiences. We have lived Plato's saying, "Necessity is the mother of invention." Whatever form your touring takes now, whether on site or virtually, the NDSC supports you.

Our Docent Handbook 2 illustrates principles and techniques that are timeless. We invite you to join us during this "back to school" month in brushing up on skills that can be tailored to any environment. Through September 30, take advantage of 20% off the $19.95 digital pdf version of the Handbook.

All funds raised from sales directly support NDSC resources and programs that benefit the docent/guide community. Note that only the digital version is on sale. Click below to order, view the contents page, and read reviews:

ORDER NOW: 20% off the Docent Handbook

Please enter coupon code handbook20 during checkout of the Digital Version.

Share your favorite tip from our Handbook by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we'll compile a "best of" article on the website.

Get Connected! Get Inspired! Get Kansas City!

BarbaraSchoell 180pp1Barbara Schoell KathiToombs 180ppiKathi Toombs

We are excited to be preparing for the National Docent Symposium to be held in Kansas City in September 2022.

As NDS Program Chairs, we cannot succeed without the contributions of our fellow Docents near and far. On May 1, we announced a Call for Presenters, requesting proposals for presentations. Have you implemented a unique program, developed a successful approach to a current issue, created solutions addressing a difficult challenge? Consider participating in our Symposium by presenting at a Breakout Session or the Showcase of Ideas.   Read more here.  

Virtual docenting 2

From the moment the pandemic led to the shutdown of all Smithsonian Institution facilities in March 2020, docents at the National Air and Space Museum began looking forward to the day when they could return to doing what docents do best: engaging with visitors.  Thanks to innovative thinking and a lot of hard work by museum staff and the docents themselves, Air and Space docents were able to resume their docent duties in September with the initiation of the museum’s Virtual Volunteer Artifact Station Program.  Read more about this exciting and innovative program here!



Fostering personal connection among 210 active docents and 107 supporting docents was the goal of the digital magazine started by the docents of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.  The magazine was conceived at the start of the pandemic as a way to share information and replace some of the things docents missed:  the social aspect of lunches in the cafes after lectures, in-person parties, and travel to other museums.  In shifting gears seamlessly, these adaptable and resourceful docents have demonstrated the docent creed:  Be Flexible.  Read more about it here.  

MMFA article July 2021

Throughout the pandemic, MMFA Guides have continued their weekly onsite training and workshops for their nearly 200 active Guides, but now through Zoom. This digital platform has allowed guides to continue learning, interacting, and sharing their passion for art with the public. Like many museums during the past year, the MMFA has called on its Guides to learn new skills and engage new audiences through online programming. Learn more here.

Getty Museum Docent Lee Rubinstein didn't let the pandemic slow her down! Active in the National Docents Forum Facebook group, she decided to combine her art history, touring, and organizing skills to bring together over 40 fellow docents and guides for a virtual art curatorial program. This labor of love has been a great way for docents across the U.S. and Canada to collaborate and learn. Read more about Lee's experience here


TucsonMuseumof Art1

Since the landmark exhibition, 30 Americans, was on view over two years ago, the Tucson Museum of Art has embarked on a journey to rethink all aspects of docent touring and training. From a successful breakout session at NDS 2019 based on the exhibition, to an indepth exploration of what DEAI means to the Museum's and docent corps' mission, new approaches and programs are being developed to usher the TMA into the future. Read more here.

The Docent Handbook 2 

Now available in two versions, digital and print.

For more information and ordering instructions, click this LINK.

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. 


Sign Up to Stay Informed
Keep up to date on topics of interest for docents/guides and plans for the next symposium

Join our mailing list!

KC National Docent Sym Logo Sept 2022