Become a volunteer Docent
Docents are trained volunteers who facilitate interactive tours and learning experiences in the galleries. They become skilled educators who share a passion for art, education, and creating a sense of welcome and belonging for guests of all ages.
Docents volunteer on weekdays, evenings, and weekends, depending on their availability. During their initial one-year training, Docents will complete a nine-week core curriculum training before beginning practice in the galleries. Docents also receive ongoing continuing education each year.
Recruitment for new docents is currently closed. If you have questions, please contact us at email@example.com.
What do I need to know about the docent program?
- No prior art history knowledge is required.
- Training will occur on your choice of either Tuesday or Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Four hours in class plus two to three hours of homework and tour practice each week. There will be breaks for holidays and time off. No class is held during the summer.
- Docents-in-Training (DITs) learn touring strategies and the history of art in the context of tours.
- Training is hands-on and interactive. DITs participate in conversations, give presentations, and practice tours in front of peers.
- Docent audiences are approximately 75% children and 25% adults.
- Docents are required to give a minimum of 24 tours a year with continuing education.
- Docents give tours of the collection and featured exhibitions in a large, multi-floor museum complex. Most tours are on weekdays, with occasional evening and weekend hours.
- Docents are required to have access to an active email account for scheduling and accessing resources.
- Individuals must be at least 18 years of age to apply. A background check is required for all volunteers.
- Entrance to the program involves an application and interview process. There are typically more applications than spots available.
What qualities are we looking for in a docent?
- Strong interpersonal skills; enjoys conversations with others.
- Positive, self-motivated, and open-minded.
- Likes working with guests of all ages.
- Demonstrates a commitment to diversity, equity, access, and inclusion.
- Good listener.
- Curious, with a love of life-long learning.
- Flexible, with ability to adapt to changing situations.
- Willing to embrace an educational model that is audience-centered. (Note: Docents do not lecture)
- Reflective and able to take constructive feedback.
What are the rewards of becoming a docent?
- Connect with the museum and the Kansas City community on a deeper level while sharing your enthusiasm for learning and art.
- Enjoy personal growth as you learn new skills and knowledge.
- Make new friends among fellow volunteers and staff.
- Give back to the community by helping spark a love of learning and cultural understanding in guests of all ages.
Comments by past DITs (Docents- in-Training) after completing their initial training:
“I have gone through many professional trainings…this training has been the most challenging, interesting, and engaging experience I have ever had.”
“I have been asked by fellow docents, ‘isn’t this the best thing you have ever done in your life?’ Yes, it is!”
“DIT training has been an amazing experience. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and look forward to many years of touring.”