Recruitment, Training, Review

Albuquerque Museum

This case study will provide information about how engaging children became the focus of training.
Topics include key concepts of adult learning; ways to engage young learners; mentoring programs;
use of hands-on objects; and tour planning tips for successful docent training.

Presenter:  David F. Bower, Ed. D.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

A one-year training program for student guides, with emphasis on the use of mentorship strategies in the learning process, offers an opportunity for the mentor and the student-guide to capitalize on their respective experiences. In addition to sharing specific roles, activities and issues that occur during training, participants will reflect on their own guiding practices.

Presenters: Muriel Luderowski and Linda Goosens

The Walters Art Museum. Baltimore, MD

Challenge yourself to see your museum through the eyes of visitors of different races and cultures who may not feel welcome, understood or represented. We offer suggestions to develop docent-led programs that promote inclusion and diversity by prioritizing people over objects, focusing on consequence over intention and providing contextual information that acknowledges multiple narratives.

Presenters:  Sheila Vidmar and Terry Ulmer


National Museum of African American History and Culture

Docents who are faced with interpreting sensitive subjects as part of their museum’s story will
explore creative ways to address tough topics, including partnering with local like-minded
institutions, as well as tips used to conduct thoughtful tours. Subjects include difference,
discrimination, hate, race/racism or violence.

Presenter:  Janice Ferebee, MSW

Tucson Museum of Art

Learn how a docent group DEAI (Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion) assists in developing
tour resources and strategies for engaging audiences when dealing with difficult themes such as
racism, violence and marginalization.  Training has included field trips, modeled facilitation strategies
and work with a community advisory committee.

Presenters:  Morgan Wells, Julie Frankston, and Jan Weidenhammer

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Museums are constantly changing to adapt to visitor preferences and organizational priorities.  How
do docents successfully navigate the uncertain roads of change? Join a lively and collaborative
session where docents and staff who have experienced change will facilitate candid discussions and
small-group activities that are positive and result-oriented.

Presenters:  Barbara Schoell, Kathi Toombs, Marla Van Thournout

National Gallery of Art

A two-year project-based education curriculum for new docents, inspired by Harvard Project Zero’s Teaching for Understanding framework poses two questions: How can docents actively learn, understand and retain art history content in support of their learning? How can learning experiences model what we hope will happen on our school tours? We will explore how docent mastery of the process in turn provides opportunities for students also to work collaboratively and develop personal agency while engaging with works of art.

Presenters: Nancy Deck, Liz Diament, Deirdre Palmer

Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH

The One Work One Hour Program encourages Columbus Museum of Art docents to expand their knowledge base and touring skills. Docents educate docents and "What If I Told You?" is the phrase used to invite curiosity and wonder about works of art and help people have an experience they remember.

Presenter: Carole Dale

Theme Category: Educating Docents 

Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD

This Breakout Session on the development and implementation of goals, objectives and measures for ongoing docent training will give session participants tools to encourage continuous improvement in the docent corps. After one year of initial docent training, the Walters Art Museum requires all docents to attend weekly enrichment sessions to improve practice and to build and maintain excellence. Session participants will learn how a partnership between docents and museum professionals helped to ensure ongoing training serves docents as adult learners and as volunteers and helps them deliver quality learning experiences for museum visitors.

Presenter: Jan Thorman

Theme Category: Educating Docents

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

In this session, the presenters will share the ways in which the Gallery Instructor program – the docent program at the MFA – has used print material, the Internet and special programming to keep Gallery Instructors (GIs) connected while addressing the needs of a growing and changing organization. These will include examples of our GI-to-GI Google listserve, staff-to-GI online weekly newsletter and GI special online and print magazine. The presenters will also explain the special programs and events that were developed to bring the GIs together, not only inside the museum, but outside the museum as well.

Presenters: Ellen Zarrow-Nissenbaum and Patti Bifulco

Theme Category: Communication

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