More Docent News

Sharing Ideas and Experience - Be a Resource for your fellow docents!  



                    April 16 – June 16, 2024: $500

              June 17 – Sept 30, 2024: $550




 Before you begin the registration process:

  • Review the registration information on our webpage and don’t forget to review the FAQs. Click here
  • Decide whether to purchase an optional full ($150) or half-day ($100) Pre-tour. Click here for our offerings.
  • Decide whether you’d like to purchase an optional Friday Jazz ticket ($30). We’ve left Friday open for you to explore Atlanta on your own. Friday Jazz at the High is an in-demand event and usually sells out. Click here for more information.

Our registration is a quick and easy two-step process.

  • Step One: Pay
    • Symposium Registration Fee
    • Optional full or half-day Pre-tour
    • Optional Friday Jazz at the High ticket
    • Add your optional Pre-tour and Friday Jazz ticket to your cart!
  • Step Two: Choose & Tell
    • You’ll receive an email with a link to complete your registration
    • Click on the link to
      • Choose an optional Full or Half Day Pre-Tour (if you paid for it in Step One).
      • And tell us about yourself, like how you want your name to appear on your badge, emergency contacts, and which institution you represent.
    • You are not registered for NDSAtl24 until you submit this form!


Remember to look for an email after registration closes on September 30, 2024, with a link to choose your Afternoon Out tour, which is included in your registration fee.

Don’t forget to make reservations at our host hotel, The Starling. Click here

More information about our Symposium and the registration link can be found at

Questions? Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Anne Minteer, Docent, San Diego Museum of Art and NDSC Programs Committee Member

Have you ever been challenged when engaging adults on a docent tour? Find yourself still focusing on history and “information.” Struggled to get visitors to talk at all? As docents, many of us face these challenges as individuals return to our institutions in increasingly larger numbers post-pandemic. In March, two docents from the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Craig Anderson and Karen Skillett, were the guest speakers at an NDSC webinar Beyond Art History: Creating Great Tour Experiences that provided ways to facilitate vibrant conversations.

Over 950 docents and museum educators registered for the event which was a repeat of abreakout session Craig and Karen presented at the 2022 National Docent Symposium in KansasCity. Here are some highlights of their presentation:


How has the NDSC brought value to you and your practice as a docent or guide?

Have you:

  • Joined the Facebook Forum, an NDSC webinar, or a Regional Virtual Roundtable?
  • Attended a National Docent Symposium with fellow docents and guides?
  • Turned to the NDSC website as an educational resource?
  • Discovered tips and tools in one of our two Docent Handbooks?

As a member of our docent community, we hope you’ll support our efforts this Giving Tuesday, November 28. It kicks off our annual campaign, providing essential funds. This year, your donation will help us to offer:

  • A new and more dynamic website
  • Additional webinars and Regional Roundtable discussions
  • Educational Grants to the 2024 Atlanta Symposium

With your help, the NDSC can continue to provide you with more ways to learn, share and connect in the year ahead. We appreciate your participation AND your donation. Thank you for all you do as a valued member of our community!

Thank you for your DONATION. We appreciate your support!

by Jeanne Heise and Anne Minteer, Western Region Directors

In June 2023, the Western Region hosted a popular virtual roundtable titled, “Reimagining
Docent Training.” Over 50 docents/guides attended representing 21 museums from six out of
seven states within the region.
The post pandemic landscape has resulted in shrinking docent populations at many institutions.
Increased focus on DEIA and social justice issues has required changes in recruitment of
docents, in structure and timing of classes, and in the content and duration of training.
Museums, and their docent organizations, across the region are trying to adapt and replenish
their docent corps. Our topic struck a chord.

Join us at the 2024 National Docent Symposium in Atlanta as a Breakout Session or a Sip & Share table talk presenter. Proposal Deadline Extended 

There's still time to be a part of it!  We've extended the proposal  deadline to November 1, 2023.

Take advantage of two opportunities to share your experience, knowledge, and touring and engagement strategies with your peers. Click here to watch the Program Chairs describe the options.

Breakout Sessions, the traditional 60-minute workshop, will feature up to 3 presenters sharing innovative touring and engagement strategies to engage with various audiences or ideas on expanding, training, or diversifying your docent corps. Click here for Breakout Session ideas and how to submit a proposal.

Sip & Share is an exciting new programming initiative featuring table presenters sharing best practices in 15-20 minute sessions. In this two-hour program, docents will rotate among the tables, drink in hand, connect with their colleagues, and learn new ways to enhance their docenting practice. Click here for more information about Sip & Share and how to submit a proposal. 

Consider sharing your topic in both! Your Sip & Share presentation could hone in on one aspect of your Breakout Session topic. Or consider expanding your Sip & Share into a Breakout Session.

Questions? Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Act now! Session proposals are due November 1, 2023!

San Diego Museum of Art Docents and Educators Collaborate on Popular Student Artist Workshop Program
by Anne Minteer, Regional Director, West

In 2021, docents and Museum educators at the San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA) saw a looming problem. Eventually, students would be returning to SDMA after the Covid pandemic. Was there a way to increase collaboration between docent volunteers and Museum education staff? Could we provide students with an opportunity to pair observing and interpreting art in the galleries with the exploratory process of creating art in a workshop setting?

We found an answer in the Student Artist Workshop (SAW) program and 400 students in San Diego County attended sessions during the 2022-2023 school year. The theme: Landscape Mood Painting-Comfort and Calm. A version of the program had existed pre-pandemic, but we wanted to increase the scale and level of collaboration between the docent and education teams.

   At the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), like many other museums and cultural facilities, closures due to covid forced a rethinking of how our institutions connect to our surrounding communities. Video and Zoom links became a huge part of adapting “to bring art to the classroom” instead of the classrooms to the art. Lectures and curator presentation given to the AGO membership continued to keep us linked to the outside and entertained while we were confined to our homes. It also meant, a large number of our staff had their talents redeployed supporting these activities and allowing for and justifying continued employment. Volunteers supported this strategy while remaining on hold waiting for a time when the AGO staff could focus on us and we could reengage with the public.

While waiting for our time, Gallery Guides stayed active through self organized zoom meetings. During Volunteer Week, we organized a zoom tour of some of our favourite AGO works of art for all the volunteers. Staff made time to keep us informed of current AGO activities and timing of reopening strategies. Gallery Guides continued to stay active and took advantage of generous offers from other North America galleries who offered tours of their exhibitions. We made new connections.

Peer to Peer: Perfecting Your Craft

National Docent Symposium 2024 Atlanta  

Mark your calendars! The National Docent Symposium is headed to Atlanta – November 14-17, 2024! The High Museum of Art Docent Corps hosted the Symposium in 1993, and we can't wait to welcome you back.

We can't think of a better place than Atlanta to Perfect Your Craft. Atlanta is a diverse city with a rich cultural heritage that is always looking forward. The city boasts over 40 world-class museums and cultural sites, plus extensive dining, shopping, and entertainment options. Atlanta presents endless opportunities to explore new ideas and expand your horizons.

Our Theme, Peer to Peer: Perfecting Your Craft, reflects what the National Docent Symposium is all about – docents learning from docents. A biannual conference put together by docents for docents. Peer to Peer: Perfecting Your Craft is also deeply personal for our High Docent Corps. It's the name of one of our docents' favorite programs and has its roots in a Montreal 2017 National Docent Symposium breakout session attended by one of our co-chairs.

You will not want to miss this exciting event, so sign up for NDSC emails and follow NDSC on Facebook to get the latest details. NDSAtl24 website is launched! Video link: Atlanta welcomes you back.

Missed it? Diversifying the Docent Corps webinar video is available now.

The video of our first webinar of 2023, an encore presentation of a breakout session from the Kansas City National Docent Symposium last September, is now available: here 

The Crocker Art Museum's Docent Council initiative to diversify its corps has reaped significant results over the past three years. Hear their stories and strategies during this one-hour program.

We were thrilled to welcome 960 webinar registrants. The docent and guide community was well represented - 650 attendees from 45 states, five Canadian provinces and 200 museums/institutions joined us for the live program. 

We look forward to presenting more programs and resources this year. The webinar was made possible by donations from our supportive docent and guide community. Please consider making a contribution toward future programming by clicking on the donate button on the home page or here.


Betsy Burgess and Linda Miller, Docents, Nevada Museum of Art, Reno NV (Spring 2022)

The Nevada Museum of Art currently has an exhibition of works by Jean LaMarr, a native American artist. Museum docents and staff felt it was important when presenting her art to learn the story of the local Stewart Indian residential school, one of over 500 Indian residential schools operational in the US from 1890 to about 1980.

“Experiences Make Better Docents” is a Nevada Museum of Art program to develop empathy and understanding of the lives and cultural backgrounds of diverse populations, to be better guides for our visitors. Lack of knowledge about the recent history and culture of Native American people presented challenges to the docents presenting the art.  Museum staff arranged an opportunity to learn more.  

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