Volunteer Docent Program
Do you want to be a volunteer docent at Carnegie Museum of Art?
The Docent Program is part of Carnegie Museum of Art’s Education Department. Our mission is to engage and inspire visitors of all ages with works of art in the permanent collection and special exhibitions.
The word docent comes from the Latin docere, “to lead.” Docents are volunteers who share their love of art by initiating dialog and creating connections for visitors in an informal learning environment. Successful candidates demonstrate the ability to serve as a knowledgeable and skilled facilitator, not necessarily as an expert. Essential traits include critical thinking, flexibility, and the ability to work as part of a team.
All volunteers enjoy free admission to all four museums, a subscription to Carnegie magazine, and discounts on parking, classes, food services, and gift shops.
What are the steps to becoming a CMA docent?
1. Complete Carnegie Museum of Art’s 14-week course called Art through the Ages: An Art History Survey. Learn more.
- Previous experience with the visual arts is helpful, but not required. This course provides an art historical foundation, with a focus on our collection.
- Two sections of this pre-requisite class will be offered this Winter/Spring:
–Wednesdays, 10 a.m.–12 .p.m. from February 20–May 29, 2013 (except March 13)
–Thursdays 6–8 p.m. from February 21–May 30, 2013 (except March 14)
- The course costs $180 ($162 members). Scholarships are available.
2. Apply to the Provisional Docent Program.
- Complete a questionnaire and short writing assignment for staff to review.
- Complete the Provisional Docent application. Email Mary Ann Perkins at email@example.com if you have questions.)
3. Complete all Provisional Docent Program requirements.
- Beginning in fall 2013, attend formal trainings with all docents on Monday mornings, plus additional trainings specifically for Provisionals as needed.
- Complete an independent study project, assignments, and practice leading conversations with fellow docents and staff.
4. Conduct a practice tour with CMA staff.
- Activation will occur selectively as determined by the Education Department.
- The date of this tour and activation will vary.
What are the requirements for all docents?
Docents must be available for:
- Monday morning training from September through June.
- At least one other weekday to lead tours.
- A commitment of at least 2 years to the program.
Docents need to:
- Lead tours for a variety of visitors, including K-12 students, adults, college students, senior citizens, and special needs audiences.
- Be self-directed to prepare for tour content and methods.
- Pass a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania background check.