Frequently Asked Questions

Explanation of terms:
National Docent Symposium Council (NDSC)
National Docent Symposium (NDS)

What is the National Docent Symposium Council (NDSC)?

The NDSC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing an ongoing forum for docent/guide education and collaborative interaction for the exchange of ideas. Since 1981, the Council has spearheaded a biennial docent symposium by selecting symposium sites and providing guidance and support to the host institutions. The NDSC consists of directors who are docents from the United States and Canada and includes chairs of past, present and future symposia. The NDSC publishes The Docent Handbook 2 written by docents, for docents, maintains the NDSC website, www.nationaldocents.org, and hosts the National Docents Forum on Facebook for continuous docent interchange.

How can I become a NDSC director?

NDSC directors are elected to a four-year term at each symposium. Directors must be active docents, present at the symposium during which they will be selected and willing to serve at their own expense. Application forms are available prior to each National Docent Symposium. Watch for an announcement on our home page in the year of the symposium.

What are the responsibilities of a NDSC director?

The primary responsibility of NDSC directors is to promote the NDSC and the upcoming National Docent Symposium. The NDSC meets annually to conduct business. The meetings are held both in conjunction with the symposium and in alternate years at the site of the next symposium.

General information about NDSC directors can be found under the “About Us” tab by clicking the heading NDSC directors.

Who can attend a National Docent Symposium?

NDS attendees are volunteer docents and staff from cultural institutions around the world. Because we want a broad range of participating institutions, each institution many send a total of four delegates - one of whom may be a staff member. If more than four docents/guides and/or staff wish to attend, they may request to be placed on a waiting list for first available registration openings. Presenters from the institution may come in addition to the four delegates.

Who is the host of the NDS?

The NDS is hosted by the docents of the sponsoring institution.
General information about hosting an NDS can be found under the “Symposia” navigation tab and clicking Hosting a Symposium. A list of all the NDS host institutions since 1981 is also available for download.

What does the NDSC look for when picking a symposium site?

The NDSC Site Selection Committee is looking for a single institution that has an established docent program. The host city must have conference hotel capabilities, easy airport access and other cultural institutions within the vicinity of the host institution who may share in the responsibility of hosting. The NDSC strives to provide a variety of symposium hosting sites across the United States and Canada.
General information about hosting an NDS can be found under the “Symposia” navigation tab by clicking Hosting a Symposium.

How can my institution become a NDS host?

Email the NDSC (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to advise them that your institution is interested in hosting. The NDSC Site Selection Committee will provide a list of requirements, answer your questions and guide you through the application process. The Chairs of the most recent symposia are also available for guidance.

How do I access symposium presentations if I am unable to attend?

Breakout and workshop sessions/presentations from past symposia can be found under the “Symposia” navigation tab.

If I have a docent related question or problem what do I do?

Docent related questions can be emailed to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. They will be reviewed and forwarded to the appropriate person to a-ssist you. The new edition of The Docent Handbook 2 is a great resource that offers a comprehensive guide to being a docent. Click HERE for information and to place an order.

How can I network with other docents?

The National Docents Forum on Facebook is a great way to stay in touch and share ideas with other docents! You may also sign up to stay informed via periodic emails from the NDSC. Visit our website often to keep up to date on topics of interest for docents/guides and plans for the next symposium.

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FAQ 2018 Sept 18 

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