Celebrating Success in Cincinnati 18th National Docent Symposium

What best to say about The National Docent Symposium 2015, “Bridge to the Past, Path to the Future” held several weeks ago in Cincinnati? Charles Dickens might have said, “What larks, Pip, what larks!” (Great Expectations); I find myself thinking, simply, “Wow!”

Co-chairs Carolyn Honkomp and Patty Hubbard assembled a fabulous team that carried the event seamlessly to a successful conclusion, punctuating the days with thoughtful and delightful speakers, like the powerful and deeply moving storyteller, Diane Macklin. Timothy Rub, Director of The Philadelphia Museum of Art spoke to the changes and challenges facing the 21st Century Museum and Art Gallery, leaving us with much to think about.

On the final day, two of us were so inspired by the energy of Cincinnati Zoo Director, Thane Maynard, we spent a delightful and sunny afternoon at the zoo before flying home to Toronto.

Cincinnati had so much to offer, with a wonderful variety of offsite tours to historic homes (How often does a Canadian get to be in three states – Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana- in 45 minutes?), private and architecturally important homes, museums, and walking tours of outdoor murals.

All 400+ delegates loved the magnificently restored Art Deco Museum Centre, where we not only had tours but a delicious dinner. We also were feted with brilliant dinners at The Cincinnati Museum, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Centre, and the beautiful Hilton Netherland Plaza Hotel. Really docents experienced such a bounty of food and drink, culminating with the unique tastes of Cinncinati on Saturday night. Never mind the offerings at Oktoberfest, just down the street!

Breakout Sessions, like “S.T.E.A.M.” inspired and energized.  Breakouts covered every imaginable challenge facing Docents these days from maintaining Docent quality to using new technology to working with the visually impaired. And The Showcase of Ideas Offered bubbled with diverse ideas and activities. Add to this wondrous mix of activities the opportunity to meet new friends, to exchange ideas with Docents and Staff from all over North America, to revel in all there is to learn, and you have a perfect national Docent Symposium. Montreal, Quebec promises to offer just as much fun and enlightenment.  We all look forward to Montreal in October of 2017!


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