On Making More of a Difference

Eric Timmreck, NDSC Regional Director, Mountain Plains Region; Docent, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Fall 2020)

It’s great to make a difference. Maybe even better is to make more of a difference! As docents, you have experienced the satisfying joy, at the end of a tour, of knowing that your visitors leave with something more than they came with. You have changed them, added something to their existence, offered them a new perspective, added a new element to their connection with the world. Whether it’s through works of art, aspects of science, items of history, or inspiring gardens, we as guides strive to provide an ‘on ramp’ for visitors, helping them relate to these objects of our attention. Perhaps you have helped visitors, in person or virtually, discover a truth that is a new ‘aha’ for them. Now that’s making a difference!

So, what can be even better? Well, don’t we make even more of a difference if we enable docents to be more effective at illuminating the world for our visitors? How can we do this? I would suggest - by sharing ideas, methods, and techniques with docents and guides from across the continent. How much there is to learn through serendipitous interactions with docents from afar!

What enables such experiences? You are now on the website of the National Docent Symposium Council, which has, for some forty years, supported biennial symposia and now complements these with online forums accessed through this website. What does this mean to me? For several years now I have enjoyed serving as a member of that Council, helping connect docents as a Regional Director and helping advance the Council’s financial structure into the future. It’s great to not only work toward making a difference, as a docent – but to also work toward making more of a difference – as a Director of the NDSC.

Your participation in, and support of, the NDSC is equally important. Through engagement on social media, sharing your experience and knowledge through articles and workshops, and donating funds, you help us continue to serve you. Thank you for your dedication to your craft and to the docent community.

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