Touring Specialty Populations

San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, TX

This presentation provides a comprehensive overview of a docent-driven multisensory tour program that has gained popularity at the San Antonio Museum of Art. Using detailed descriptions, scents, music, and tactile models in the tours docents enhance the Museum experience for visitors who are blind or visually impaired. The presentation focuses on the creative process, training methodology, tour components, outreach strategies and evaluation methods. It includes a practical demonstration of our approach to art.

Presenters: Norma Gomez-Perez, Elisa Denham, Mary Hogan

Theme Category: Community Outreach



Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON

This Breakout Session addresses the topic of visual art tours for people without sight at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Providing access to art for people without sight allows special visitors to see art through another's eyes. The program also examines how the process enhances a sighted person's ability to "look to really see" a work of art. Docent techniques and approaches for this visual art tour will be explored further through interactive role-playing.

Presenter: Mary Rochon

Theme Category: Community Outreach

Art Gallery of Burlington, Burlington, ON

The Art Gallery of Burlington is home to seven artists' guilds. Some of these guild members were the original volunteer docents and carry with them the living history of the gallery. In a program established by the Art Gallery of Burlington, docents and guild members come together to provide dementia-friendly programming for members of the Burlington community in affiliation with the Alzheimer's Society. In this Breakout Session participants will discuss the challenges of working with this population, how to present an engaging and enriching docent program and discuss the benefits of linking the guilds with this specialized program.

Presenters: Becky Hewis and Lisa Meecham

Theme Category: Community Outreach

Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN

Honoring the Warriors: Tours for Veterans is a program established between the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Veterans Affairs Hospital of Minneapolis in which art is the catalyst for conversation about veterans' experiences. Using MIA's large collection, tours are designed for veterans in specialized VA hospital treatment programs. Two docents from the Minneapolis Institute of Art will share training tips, selection of artworks, themes choices and personal experiences from touring with veterans.

Presenters: Sue Hamburge and Jane Mackenzie

Theme Category: Community Outreach

Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO

What? A three-year-old on an art museum tour! How can that be? Should it be?

Research has shown that the earlier children are exposed to museum experience the more likely they are to become lifelong museum-goers. Join the fun as Denver Art Museum docents explore materials and techniques used to engage the three-to-five-year-old set in the museum.

Presenters: Frieda Levine and Benita Goltermann

Theme Category: Surprise Us!


Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, NS

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia will present an introduction to the art of local folk artist Maud Lewis. It will also tell the story of the saving and restoration of her house, now a central exhibit at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. It will combine images and narrative, both to explore Maud's life and art and to demonstrate a range of techniques for engaging school children with Maud's work. While Maud's story is unique, many of the tour techniques would easily transfer to the work of other folk artists.

Presenters: Katharine Bowlby, Ph.D., Kay McNamara and Cheryl Greenberg, Ph.D.

Theme Category: Successful Tours for School Groups

Château Ramezay Museum and Historic Site of Montreal, Montreal, QC

Guides in costume from the Château Ramezay Museum and Historical Site of Montreal bring the history of New France back to life for elementary school students. While handling artifacts and completing child-centered activities, children explore three aspects of Montreal history – the First Nations, Voyageurs in the Fur Trade and Daily Family Life, producing food and clothing. The session will describe how volunteer guides at the Chateau Ramezay Museum and Historic Site of Montreal prepare and carry out this social studies program that includes many tangible experiences and activities to captivate a class for 90 minutes.

Presenters: Kathie Stafford and Carolyn Pepler

Theme Category: Successful Tours for School Groups

High Museum of Art, Atlanta GA

In collaboration with Georgia Tech, the High Museum of Art developed a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) tour and workshop to meet the needs of Atlanta's 21st century learners and thinkers.  This presentation will focus on the development of the tour, docents' contributions, the training process, and successes and challenges of launching a new tour.

Presenter: Margaret Wilkerson, Co-Presenters: Missy Shoenig and Leslie Tripp

Art Gallery of Ontario

Find out how to provide Talks on the Dot at any museum or gallery, with little time (10 minutes) and without moving from one spot.  Great for new visitors, visitors with children, and those with a mobility disability.  These tours can introduce a collection and even encourage the tour averse.

Presenter: Beverly Biderman, Co-Presenter: Melissa Smith

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, MI

How do you create engaging and interactive tours for individuals with visual impairments?  Kalamazoo Institute of Arts docents and staff will discuss the development of their successful "Touch Art Tours", demonstrate their techniques and provide helpful advice for starting VI tours at your institution.

Presenter: Michelle Stempien, Co-Presenters: Tracy Klinesteker and Frank Wolf

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