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New Article in the Series

interchange-050718-pre-k-tour-activityInclusion 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.  

Inclusivity can extend to many groups and individuals. Cultural institutions are now including toddlers and young children of pre-school age in tours.

"Tours for Very Young Audiences" a new article contributed by a docent from the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore will give you some background of what's possible and ideas that may inspire your institution to include tours for the little ones. 

Find other 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

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. 


Visit the online exhibition hosted by the Library of Congress and see the events hosted by the Smithsonian Museum: 

Get to know the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center - a museum without walls.

On the West Coast, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco will host festivities in a city - wide celebration.

Reminder! the Freer|Sackler galleries, the Smithsonian's museums of Asian Art will host our next symposium in Washington, D.C. October 24th to 27th 2019

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.

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.

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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