I have frequently mentioned the fact that I am a docent at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and I think you can read between the lines – I am very proud of this volunteer effort and the benefit we bring to the community. I thought you might be interested in hearing more.
The first National Docent Symposium was organized by a group of docents from the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1981. We continue to be recognized at the Symposium for our early efforts to bring docents from all over the United States and Canada together every two years! In 1985 docents from all disciplines became eligible to attend the Symposium. The NDS is divided into 8 regions – Indiana is part of the Midwestern Region. The National Docent Symposium Council (NDSC) was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1988 and functions as the governing body of the NDS. The NDSC’s purpose is to provide an ongoing forum to promote docent education and the exchange of ideas. They have a website, which can be found at http://www.nationaldocents.org. Docents from art museums, natural history museums, science museums, botanical gardens, children’s museums, history museums and historical sites come together at the Symposium to participate in dialogue about the role and mission of docents. The NDSC calls itself “A volunteer organization dedicated to increasing the public understanding of museum collections.”
This year three of our docents attended the Symposium and shared our development of a multi-faceted Docent Website and the work we are doing to integrate use of the iPAD and other leading edge techniques in our tours. The docents at the San Francisco art museums that participated as sponsors for this year’s NDS went above and beyond in extending hospitality to attendees. They created wonderful opportunities for learning in their breakout sessions, arranged for inspirational keynote speakers, and provided memorable evening experiences at their museums. The docents of the IMA continue to be recognized as the original organizers of the NDS – and as on-going providers of inspiration to docents throughout the U.S. and Canada. The next NDS will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2015.
The Indianapolis museum of Art is one of the nation’s largest encyclopedic art museums. You can learn more here.