I am a docent at Rancho Los Alamitos, an Historic Ranch and Gardens in Long Beach, California. I hold an MBA with a concentration in Accounting. My career was in accounting and finance, where I managed the finances for a community college. I grew up in Egypt, land of the Pharaohs, and my first memories were visiting the Pyramids, the Sphinx, the old temples and the Egyptian Museum. The love and appreciation of history and art is in my genes. I enjoy being a docent at Rancho Los Alamitos as I am able to bring old California history alive to our guests by taking them through the Ranch House, barns and gardens, telling the story of the families that lived there. I love being a volunteer and giving our guests a memorable experience whether they are adults, students or young children. It takes all of us to make the world a better place.
My Connection with the NDSC
I attended my first symposium in Washington D.C. in 2019. I became aware of this organization when colleagues attended Montreal 2017. I applied for the NDSC education grant and I was honored and humbled to receive it. Many members of the Council leadership reached out to me. They were absolutely kind, welcoming and considerate individuals. They encouraged me to apply for a position on the Council, and I was honored to be appointed to a position that will allow me to best serve the NDSC by ensuring the continued financial sustainability of the Council. I totally enjoyed the symposium as I gained knowledge and expertise that I will be able to share with Rancho docents and guests.
I enjoy docenting in general because it involves working with visitors on visual literacy, helping them answer questions like, "What am I looking at?" and "What does it mean?" At theNational Museum of Women in the Arts I also get to learn and share the compelling life stories of women artists and their many contributions to the art world.
My Connection to the NDSC
I have been a docent for 25 years and attended five symposiums starting with my first in Chicago in 2003 and including co-chairing the symposium in Washington DC in 2019. With each event I become more impressed with the wealth of knowledge this community of learners and teachers has to offer. I want to be part of helping NDSC stay strong and grow in the future.
Sharing the beauty, joy, and inspiration of art, history and nature has long been second nature to me. As an independent consultant in event management, I’ve had many opportunities to travel and explore, and have been inspired by the docents and guides in these journeys who have shared their insights with me.
My own volunteer docent experience began at the Missouri Botanical Garden, first in the historical home of its founder and then in an exuberant garden sculpture installation.
My dream of becoming a docent at the St. Louis Art Museum came true when I was accepted into the 2009 docent training program. SLAM is a comprehensive collecting institution, free to all, and I’ve been happily sharing and learning from its wonderful collaboration of community, art professionals, fellow docents, and visitors of all ages ever since.
My connection with the NDSC
My intro to NDSC came in 2011, in St. Louis, when my friend and mentor Gin Wachter headed up our host committee. My role was mainly behind the scenes, in hotel meeting logistics. So I was eager to fully attend the next NDSC, in San Francisco, as Co-Chair of our St. Louis docent group. I was overwhelmed and inspired by the experience, the idea-sharing and the collegiality of docents and guides from all over North America.
In 2019, I attended the Washington, D.C., and was proud to be elected as an At-Large Director. I look forward to continuing support of the NDSC and its mission to empower and support docents and guides.
I have an undergraduate degree in art and graduate study in gastronomy and art. I pursued an artistic, culinary and botanical path in Boston, Genolier, Switzerland, Durham, North Carolina, Padua and Rome in Italy and Portland, Maine at museums, universities and botanical gardens. I served as a docent and artist-in-residence at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University, on the Advisory Board, and as a Master Gardener for the Durham County Extension Service. Currently, I am a docent at the Portland Museum of Art (Class of 2010) and its Winslow Homer Studio. In Boston, I am a Gallery Instructor at the MFA (2014) and have served as Vice-Chair of the Advisory Board. I am currently a docent at the Boston Athenaeum (2021) and the Public Garden (2022). My botanical illustrations and calligraphy are found in international collections and in graphic design for publications. My husband, Stephen and I have two married sons and four grandchildren.
My Connection to the NDSC:
I was a presenter (MFA, Boston) and part of the Showcase of Ideas (Portland Museum of Art) in Montreal 2017. In Washington, D.C. I presented another Showcase based on an initiative from the MFA, Boston.
Who among us hasn’t wondered, “what if?” For me, it’s “What if I had majored in Art History instead of minored it in? Would I be a curator or museum professional now?” No one knows but being a docent has given me the same level of satisfaction. I was among the fortunate ones chosen back in 2012 when the Getty Center decided to bring in docents for the galleries. Before that, educational staff led all student and adult tours.
I graduated with a dual major (English and History) and an Art History minor. Later, I attended graduate school and received an MBA. I had a career in finance and non-profit before starting my own graphic design business.
The opportunity to be a docent has been an enlightening one for me. The research is a joy and I love talking to students and adults about art. I may not have been able to make a living from art education, but I’ve certainly made a life of it.
My connection with the NDSC:
A chance internet search brought me to the NDSC web page. I was immediately intrigued and began checking out the Forum. When the pandemic changed how we do things, I started the Curator’s Club, a group of us who meet regularly and have challenged ourselves to curate exhibits and present them to the group. I also was able to share my virtual tours with many docents around the country and even the world (Australia, New Zealand, England, Canada and Israel).
I am honored and delighted to serve as a Director-at-large for Development and I look forward to reaching out to docents at many more museums, gardens and historic sites.
My life-long love of teaching children led me to try my hand at being a docent at the Oakland Museum of California. What has kept me there is the dynamic nature of our docent core, the way the museum likes to be at the cutting edge of what’s happening in the museum world, and the many ways I can interact with visitors from the amazing, diverse, challenging city of Oakland.
My Connection to the NDSC
Docents from the Oakland Museum have had a long history with the NDS and I have always been envious of those who have attended. When I had the opportunity to attend, I jumped on it! As a new regional director, I am looking forward to engaging with docents in my region and in the wider community through the symposia and through the work of the Council.