NDS Pre-tours: Adding That Special Draw - A Perspective from Montreal 2017

Diane P. Massicotte, co-chair Montreal Symposium 2017 (October 2018)

Pre-tours at the National Docent Symposiums offer a very special opportunity! In Montreal 2017 our theme offered the delegates a feel of life both in the city and in the country, through art and food.

Arranging interesting pre-tours requires many hours of research and good team work. Committee members, while keeping within the budget, chose the locations, arranged transportation and using those personal contacts, sometimes over months, secured interesting choices for our delegates to visit. The committee found that representing a well-known museum like the Montreal Museum of Fine Art (MMFA) had advantages as it seemed to increase our ability to negotiate more favorable deals.

Traditionally, symposium planners have found that the most popular pre-tours are home visits where the art collections are usually inaccessible. Thanks to several dedicated patrons of the MMFA we arranged visits to three impressive home collections that our delegates truly appreciated. A side benefit to the generosity of these patrons allowed the symposium planners to allocate a greater percentage of the budget to other quality art and food venues.

In Montreal we allowed for 25 participants on 5 of the city pre-tours. Our country outing accommodated the largest number, at 40 participants. All were sold out very quickly. Feedback indicated that those who participated in the Montreal 2017 pre-tours were very impressed.

Pre-tours are the initial encounter that delegates have with the host city and the National Docent Symposium. Experienced delegates know that the pre-tours are very special, and they sign up early, to secure their chosen venue!


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