Making an Impact

We are proud to recognize our supporters as well as the individuals and institutions that inspire them.

Art In Bloom 2023 and The Associates of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston

In April, Boston saw Art in Bloom (AIB) return in full force to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (MFA).  This joyful, three-day salute to spring showcases selections from the MFA’s collection paired with custom-made floral arrangements. In collaboration with museum staff, the Associates produced the first AIB event in 1976. The Associates, who are volunteer docents and floral designers, have carried on this tradition for more than 40 years. They worked closely with museum staff to organize this event and all volunteers were encouraged to participate in the implementation.

2023 marks twenty years when I began my “retirement career transition” as a docent with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Not too far into my new career I discovered a professional network which would become invaluable for enabling me and my colleagues to be abreast of the latest and greatest docent practices, the National Docent Symposium Council (NDSC.)

Not Knowing Together: DEIA Committee Paves Path of Discovery

Judy Steers, PhxArt Master Docent, NDSC Director at Large

Pati Anderson, PhxArt Docent DEIA Director

With energy, passion, commitment, courage, and a willingness to “jump into the void of not knowing” together, the PhxArt Museum Docent DEIA Committee took the plunge toward introducing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) to Docents in 2021, building on work that was begun in 2017. Though well-intentioned and well-orchestrated at that time, it had a precarious beginning.

Now because the topic of DEIA is an international priority for museums and institutions, the 2021 Committee continues to work in tandem with Museum and Education staff paving the path of discovery in support of DEIA initiatives.

Mint Museum 1Members of the 65th anniversary committee with Honorary Docent and former Mint Museum Librarian, Joyce Weaver (third from left).

Docents at The Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC enjoyed a festive brunch in celebration of the affiliate group’s 65th Anniversary. Current, new and past docents and museum staff members marked the occasion on October 3, 2022. 

Shelagh Barrington, Gallery Guide, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada (Summer, 2022)

Betsy Vourlekis Lindsay McAuliffe NDS Lindsay McAuliffe NDS

In this 40th Ruby Anniversary year of NDSC we are highlighting the efforts of dedicated volunteers to bring Best Practices to our docent/guide community.

Pictured here, left to right, are Betsy Vourlekis, Docent, Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art/Charles Lang Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, DC; Jan Thorman, Docent, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; and Lindsay McAuliffe, Docent, Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art/Charles Lang Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, DC.

These three experienced docents took on the task of researching and writing the NDSC handbook Touring with Children and Teens. Their combined backgrounds, input from other docents and guides, and extensive research have resulted in a professional and engaging roadmap for docent/guides.

Joanne Eudy, Docent, The Wadsworth Atheneum

The Wadsworth Atheneum Docent Council celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2018.  The Council continues to evolve, lead and inspire.

Renee Reese, Docent, The Mint Museum

Docents at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC are an affiliate group of the museum and are part of the Learning and Engagement Department. Training and guidance from the department is critical to our success of our tours and to our personal growth as museum educators.

Former Director of Learning and Engagement, Cheryl Palmer, was recently honored by our docents for her 35 years of service at the museum. Cheryl began her time at the Mint as Curator of Education and then as Director. Before she retired, she oversaw the department’s renaming as Learning and Engagement, a better reflection of the museum’s commitment to our visitors.

Bill Sitzer, SLAM/Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO

This tribute is to honor Renée Brummel Franklin, a staff member at the Saint Louis Art Museum.

In January of 2021, Renée became the museum’s first chief diversity officer. Previously she had been director of audience engagement. She has been part of the museum’s staff since 1998. During this time, she played a critical role in expanding community programs and reaching new and diverse audiences.

Mary Carmody, SLAM/Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO

If you were to look for an exemplar of docent dedication and leadership, you’d find Gin Wachter.

MFA Bilingual Tour Stop  Beth Sanders, MFA Boston School Group Guide

With the guidance of MFA’s educators, school tours have been created on a theme of community and identity. With this theme in mind a group of SGGs and MFA Associates (adult group guides) worked together with the MFA staff to create a pilot tour with a bilingual tour stop for high school students from Providence, Rhode Island who are studying Mandarin Chinese.  Each SGG (one who fluent in Mandarin) had an Associate Guide ‘shadow’. The SGGs planned tour routes to include several collection areas and the students were escorted to the bilingual tour stop at a pre-arranged time which the SGG delivered in both English and Mandarin. 

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Tours with Children and Teens Handbook Cover

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