Being a docent at this museum means becoming a storyteller/griot. Every object in our museum has a unique and significant story to tell, and we get to share those stories with the 8,000 people (on average) who visit the museum each day. It’s like taking them on a tour through a 400,000 square foot storybook, consisting of 10 floors – 5 above ground (COMMUNITY & CULTURE GALLERIES, and executive offices), and 5 below ground (Concourse & HISTORY GALLERIES). The museum’s 12 inaugural exhibitions focus on broad themes of history, culture and community, made up of about 3,000 pieces (from a 37,000+ piece collection). These exhibitions have been conceived to help transform visitors’ understanding of American history and culture and to help visitors adapt to and participate in changing definitions of American citizenship, liberty and equality.
NMAAHC Docents on "Monumental Staircase" at 1st Anniversary Gathering * September 2017
Being a docent at our museum also means engaging visitors in important, timely conversations – including conversations about race, which uniquely correlates to the significance of the building design. In addition to the almost 3,600 ornamental bronze-colored panels that make up the “skin” of the museum, paying homage to intricate ironwork crafted by enslaved African Americans in Charleston, SC,
Savannah, GA, and New Orleans, LA, the enveloping lattice also opens the building to exterior daylight, which can be modulated according to the season. The openness to light is symbolic for a museum that seeks to stimulate open dialogue about race and help promote reconciliation and healing. We look forward to the NDS2019 and welcoming docents from around the U.S. and Canada.
Detail of Museum “Skin”
We welcome your docent ideas and experiences. Share them by:
--joining the National Docents Forum Facebook group, an interactive forum for docents and guides.