Museum Guides

A Museum Guide at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is a trained volunteer who facilitates learning in the galleries and creates a sense of welcome and belonging for visitors of all ages. Museum Guides assist with a variety of activities, including walk-in tours, gallery stations, and family gallery activities.

Museum Guides volunteer two times per month for three-hour shifts on evenings and weekends. In addition to an initial training, Museum Guides also complete ongoing training throughout the year. This role is available to individuals who are 18 years or older.

If you are interested in becoming a museum guide, please contact us at volunteer@nelson-atkins.org for more information.

What do I need to know about the Museum Guide program?

  • No prior art history knowledge is required.
  • Museum Guides make a minimum 2-year commitment.
  • For the 2018 volunteer class, the initial eight-session training program takes place on Thursday evenings from May – August, 2018.
  • Museum Guides learn teaching strategies and the history of art in the context of in-gallery activities.
  • Training is hands-on and interactive.
  • Museum Guides work equally with both children and adults.
  • Museum Guides facilitate activities in the museum’s permanent collection, as well as in featured exhibitions.
  • Museum Guides are required to complete 24 shifts a year within a flexible schedule, and participate in 6-8 continuing education sessions throughout the year.
  • Museum Guides are required to have an active email account and regular access to a computer for scheduling and accessing resources.
  • Individuals must be 18 years of age or older to apply.
  • A background check is required for all volunteers.
  • Entrance to the program is competitive and involves an application and interview process.

What qualities are we looking for in a Museum Guide?

  • Good communication skills, enjoys engaging small groups in conversations about art.
  • Positive, self-motivated, and open-minded.
  • Outgoing people-person.
  • Likes working with visitors of all ages, including children and adults.
  • Good listener.
  • Curious, with a love of life-long learning.
  • Flexible with the ability to adapt to changing situations.
  • Willing to embrace an educational model that is audience-centered. Museum Guides do not lecture.
  • Reflective and able to take constructive feedback.
  • Team player who enjoys working collaboratively.

What are the rewards of becoming a Museum Guide?

  • Connect with the museum on a deeper level while sharing your enthusiasm for education and art.
  • Enjoy personal growth as you learn new skills and knowledge.
  • Make new friends amongst fellow volunteers and staff.
  • Give back to the community.
  • Inspire love of learning, cultural understanding in visitors of all ages.
  • Learn about general volunteer opportunities.