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KC National Docent Sym Logo Sept 2022

Great news! We have new dates for the next symposium!

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art invites you to Kansas City September 16-19, 2022. By then we’ll all be ready to connect with other docents, guides and museum educators from around the United States and Canada to be inspired by best practices and new learning.

Rooms have been reserved as a block for us at the Intercontinental Hotel on the Country Club Plaza. As you stroll along the streets of the first suburban shopping district you will be entertained by its open-air public art gallery. Enjoy discovering bronze and marble sculpture and, of course, our numerous fountains. The Nelson-Atkins is within a few blocks of this district.

Planning is in the works for Pre-tours on September 16. You’ll have opportunities to visit some of the premier cultural institutions by spending a half day or a full day exploring. See what is special about KC … its art, its collections, its sharing of history, its businesses. Everything is up to date in Kansas City!

The symposium will feature visits to some other institutions, a welcome dinner at the beautiful Nelson-Atkins museum, breakout sessions with the most relevant topics, and noteworthy speakers. Our evenings will include dinners at different locations throughout the city. When you depart the 2022 National Docent Symposium, you will leave with new friends, fresh ideas and renewed enthusiasm for everything you do for your museum.

Kansas City often surprises with its charm, its cultural amenities and its warm welcome. Join us and find out for yourself!

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. 


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KC National Docent Sym Logo Sept 2022