Website for Docents
Walters docents have access to a special online site for trading information, schedules and more. Docents, log in here.
What is a docent?
A docent is a volunteer museum educator who engages students and adults in interactive gallery experiences. Docents are representatives of The Walters Art Museum and should have thorough knowledge of the museum and its exhibitions, programs, practices, and education philosophy.
Who makes a good docent?
The ideal Walters docent is enthusiastic, patient, flexible, and is able to take a visitor-centered approach to touring. Successful docents have strong interpersonal skills and are able to interact with visitors of all ages. Additionally, successful docents are interested in working as a member of an energetic team. Docents are committed to learning to engage visitors and are willing to make the necessary commitments to both training and touring. Trainees must be computer literate and proficient in the use of e-mail and the Internet.
What does training involve?
A new docent class will begin in January, 2015. Participants will attend classroom and gallery training. The training program includes 4.5 hours of class time once a week and lasts approximately 8 months. No prior education or experience in art is necessary to join the docent class. Docent training includes the following components:
- Study and practice of interactive and arts-integrated teaching techniques and educational pedagogy
- Study of historical and cultural context in which art was created
- Completion of projects and presentations designed to promote effective interactive tour skills
- Pairing of docent students with experienced docents for one-on-one mentoring
- Talks by Walters Art Museum curators and educators, outside specialists, gallery sessions with experienced docents, and readings from various sources
- Docent students should also plan to spend some individual time on research, reading assignments, and also tour preparation in the galleries
- Ongoing support and staff/peer evaluation
What is the time commitment?
Training lasts for 8 months. Classes are held on consecutive Wednesdays (early January through mid-May 2015 and early September through mid-December 2015). Once training is complete, the following time commitments are required:
- Lead tours for a minimum of 2 hours/week and help meet tour requests during peak school tour season (September–June)
- Attend weekly continuing education classes on many Monday mornings from 10:15 a.m.– 12 p.m.
By becoming a docent you will enjoy the following benefits:
- Provide valuable service to the Walters and to the wider community by making the museum accessible and inviting to diverse audiences
- Have the opportunity to become a more effective communicator and educator
- Share ideas and experiences with interested students and adults
- Expand your knowledge of the Walters' collection and special exhibitions by attending continuing education sessions
- Receive discounted parking at the museum parking lot on Cathedral Street
- Attend museum symposia and lectures for free
- Receive a 20% discount at the Museum Store
- Participate in the Docent Book Group, the Docent Executive Committee and various other committees
- Enjoy group trips to museums in Maryland, DC and, Pennsylvania
How to Apply
- Please complete the online application.
- Please also include a resume with your work and volunteer experience.
- Please also include a short letter expressing your interest and what you can personally bring to the Docent Program.