The National Gallery of Art
is recruiting school docents to conduct student-centered thematic tours for thousands of children of all ages from all over the country, providing rich and memorable experiences with works of art in the Gallery's collection. Docents engage students in conversations and activities that develop careful looking skills as well as personal interpretations of art.
Docent candidates receive extensive ongoing training in museum teaching, understanding Gallery audiences, and art history. Various formats are used to advance docent learning during the initial training: workshops that cover many educational topics and model the best practices in teaching and applied educational theory, in-gallery discussions, lectures, pre- and post-session readings, and independent research. New docents are expected to make a five-year commitment to the program, which includes two years of initial training. School tours are conducted over a period of 30 weeks from October to May. During this period, docents must be available to provide up to two tours per day on 25 days.
Applications for the school docent program are currently available on the National Gallery's Web site at www.nga.gov/education/docent_app.shtm. The Web site explains the selection criteria and process. Completed applications are due by February 28, 2009. Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to attend an informational meeting to meet staff and current docents and to learn more about the program and the selection process. The meetings will take place in the East Building Small Auditorium on February 19, February 24, and March 9. All programs begin at 10:15 a.m. and will last approximately one hour. Candidates should send their name and selected date via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the school docent program and the many other volunteer opportunities at the National Gallery of Art is available at www.nga.gov/education/volunteer.htm