Active Senior Tours

Barbara Granett, Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX, Facilitator

Fern Denney, Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA

Nelida Galla, Baltimore Museum of Art, MD

Clara Millan, Baltimore Museum of Art, MD

Glee Nelson, Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery, Lindsborg, KS

Roberta Yarker Smith, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE


I. Issues to be aware of when touring with Seniors:

  • When addressing this group it is important to speak clearly and be aware of the volume of one’s voice.
  • Wheelchairs are best positioned front and center.
  • Eye contact helps convey the message to a sitting visitor.


II. General techniques for use with tours for Seniors:

  • Technology, as an example the IPAD, can display artwork in other galleries so seniors with mobility issues can stay in one gallery while looking at art in other galleries.
  • Discussion is stimulated by the compare and contrast.


III. Specific techniques that have worked at various museums:

  • “Tea and Tour” for 55 and older. The museum would charge a nominal sum for a 45 minute tour with a docent followed by tea, refreshments and discussion. The suggestion is that groups be 10 visitors to one docent.
  • “Starving for Art”, sandwich lunch tour and discussion as above. (Delaware Art Museum.)
  • Including coffee and discussion highlighting the advantages and benefits of membership along with an art topic might be a way of encouraging seniors to join museums.
  • “Art Talk”, is a prearranged conference call with a docent for seniors who cannot travel. Images from a specific topic are sent to the seniors in advance of the talk. A docent then conducts a conversation about these specific images with approximately 10 seniors over the phone. The talks are conducted three successive specified days in one month, usually a week apart, and approximately 30 images are discussed in 3 one hour conversations. The talks have a unified theme. (Philadelphia Museum of Art)


Sign Up to Stay Informed
Keep up to date on topics of interest for docents/guides and plans for the next symposium

Join our mailing list!

Donation button homepage PNG 2021

KC National Docent Sym Logo Sept 2022