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"The Paris of North America" is the site of this year's National Docent Symposium, and what a great event it's going to be!

Our slogan, Reaching New Heights, was inspired by the spiral staircases of Montreal, but it really means getting better, stronger and more innovative as docents.

Stephan Jost, the dynamic new director of the Art Gallery of Ontario, will draw on his experience at the AGO, in Honolulu and Vermont to talk about "how to engage our public with authenticity, knowledge and flexibility." He will be followed by a panel discussion focused on visitor diversity, interpreting contemporary art, and what the age 20-to-35 crowd want from a museum experience.

JUST THE WAY THEY LIKE IT . . .

THROUGH EDUCATION, ENRICHMENT AND ENGAGEMENT

DAM volunteers are not unlike other volunteers. They give their time freely and what they get back is usually pure gratification for a job well done but a little extra recognition for a job well done is always valued. The DAM's Volunteer Executive Board (VEB) acknowledges DAM volunteer service in many ways and are taking volunteer appreciation to another level. They give the men and women, who provide volunteer service to the DAM, a broader educational opportunity than what is normally available to them through the museum's traditional volunteer training and educational programs.

The VEB hosts special events, called Koffee Klatches (KKs,) that are available to all DAM volunteers about ten times a year. And yes, we do serve coffee and refreshments. The VEB limits attendance to these events and offers them on some Saturdays and always Mondays, since the museum is closed on Monday, empty and ours.

THANK YOU DOCENTS & GUIDES EVERYWHERE!

With the end of the year approaching for many docent & guide organizations the National Docent Symposium Council thinks it is a great idea to thank all the wonderful people who volunteer countless hours making the museum experience a meaningful one for visitors. What is the best way to honor docents? What keeps docents docenting (possibly not a word but you know what I mean?) Museums often find ways to honor docents at this time of the year. Luncheons are held, awards are given and in San Francisco, California and Evansville, Indiana Mayoral Proclamations were handed down last year to recognize docents and the amazing service they give. Museums also give parking discounts, gift shop discounts, sponsor enrichment trips and give holiday parties. I think docents enjoy the parties, discounts, and recognition but I wonder if this is what really keeps docents contributing untold volunteer hours to their museums.

Become a National Docent Symposium Council (NDSC) Regional Director or Director-at-Large

A dynamic leadership opportunity to expand your docent experience beyond the symposium.

The 2017 NDSC Director Application is now available! 

You can continue your symposium and docent experience by applying to be an NDSC director. The NDSC's mission is to support an ongoing forum for docent education and exchange of ideas through the biennial National Docent Symposium (NDS.) The NDS is organized by volunteer docents/guides for volunteer docents/guides and is held in the United States and Canada. For more information, click this LINK

When the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College closed its doors for an approximately three year renovation, they decided to throw a party. A really BIG party. All of the museum's art had been moved to storage for safe keeping, leaving behind an empty museum with lots of space to get creative. The entire community was invited to attend the event. Activities and entertainment began in the afternoon and lasted well into the evening.

Our director, John Stromberg says that "one of the keys to education is making a mess." He and the museum staff saw the empty museum as an opportunity to invite the public to do just that. Over 1600 people came to make art in our now empty gallery space.

"The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper".
Author Unknown.

This quote, on the title page of the book, Visual Intelligence by Amy Herman, sums up the content and purpose of the book. The author believes that everyone has the innate ability she calls "visual intelligence". Visual Intelligence is the process of looking, understanding and responding to the world around us.

The book is a distillation of the course, The Art of Perception, which the author created in 2000 using artwork in the Frick Collection.
The book offers a series of exercises, based on looking closely at works of art, to assist the reader in discovering and improving their own visual Intelligence. The book contains many pictures of works of art which, unfortunately, are too small to show the details needed for the exercises. Readers will find it easier to complete the exercises using larger format versions of the works of art.

NDS Montreal 2017 is fast approaching, October 12-15, 2017, so now is a great time to check the expiration date on your passport. Please keep the following information in mind as you make your travel plans for Montreal!

• All passport expiration dates must be valid for at least six months after you return home.
• All passports should have two or more blank pages.
• Allow six weeks for processing.
• U.S. Postal Services, you can visit your local post office to apply for and/or renew your passport:
https://www.usps.com/international/passports.html
• U. S. Passport & International Travel, U.S. Department of State and Bureau of Consular Affair can answer any questions: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html


• Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA): exemptions include U.S. citizens, travelers with a valid Canadian visa and Canadian citizens.
• Please refer to the Government of Canada site for more information www.cic.gc.ca

See you in Montreal!!

Peer review has been an integral part of the Phoenix Art Museum Docent program for over 50 years. Today, with more than 250 active touring and outreach docents, we continue to evaluate and update our review process to ensure full participation and foster best practices. Our interactive coaching style prompted one recently reviewed docent to say, "We always learn from each other. That's what makes the process so rewarding."

From the training of a new docent, to ongoing education and development, docents adhere to a set of standards that allows us to successfully support Phoenix Art Museum's mission to connect people with art. These standards, articulated on a review form along with supporting criteria, serve as a preparation tool for docents as they create and present their tours and community talks. The form is used again as a reference during the docent review, with strengths and areas for refinement noted in writing for the docent's future use. The original practice of numerical "grading" has given way to a system that allows for more discussion and positive reinforcement.

A recommendation, some make, for those who are nervous to speak publically, is to imagine everyone in the audience is nude. However, few of us actually ever find out how this really feels. Last fall, one of the docents on the National Docent Symposium Council (NDSC) had the opportunity to do just this when The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts presented the exhibition Focus: Perfection Robert Mapplethrope.

The exhibit notes describe him as "One of the most influential photographers of the twentieth century, Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) gained renown for his masterful compositions and subjects that have compelled new reflection on questions of gender, race and sexuality." There were close to 300 of his photographs in the exhibition and it was very popular with the public. The exhibit concentrated on the genres of portraiture, the nude and still life.

Edith Wharton meets John Singer Sargent. More precisely, aspects of the society that Edith Wharton describes in The Age of Innocence can be seen reflected in portraits by John Singer Sargent of his wealthy and privileged sitters. Edith Wharton and John Singer Sargent, both American artists, were at the peak of their creative energies during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a period known as the Gilded Age for the tremendous number of fortunes that were amassed during this time, and the lavish lifestyles those fortunes supported. What relationships do you see between the culture Edith Wharton describes and the culture of John Singer Sargent's sitter—Wharton's illuminated in words, and Sargent's illuminated in oil paints? How are they similar? How are they different?

If the above paragraph sounds like the beginning of a discussion, it is intended to be. It is a sample setting for a 'Book-Meets-Art Tour' as we have been conducting these at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH). First, let me explain the philosophy that drives a Book-Meets-Art Tour, why we're calling it a 'creative visitor experience, and how we're implementing it.

A gentleman adjusted his glasses to read, one more time, the clue in his booklet that described a work of art in the Taft Museum of Art. With his hands tied behind his back, he cannot see what is happening around him. Who is he?

"By golly, I think I finally found it," he said to himself as he studied the 16th century Italian Majolica plate in the Renaissance Treasury of the museum. He wrote "a blindfolded cupid" on his answer sheet.

This gentleman was a guest attending the annual Docent Fall Social at the Taft Museum of Art in Cincinnati, Ohio and was participating in a Treasure Hunt as part of the evening festivities.

If you are looking for an art related read for your book club, you'll find book reviews by clicking this LINK Movie suggestions are here too. 

Recommended websites and blogs are found under Resources, click this LINK to learn more.

Share your book and movie recommendations and online favorites by email to Kristen Keirsey: kkeirsey@gmail.com They'll be posted on the site. 

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Dinners for non-registered accompanying persons

We are happy to announce that non- registered persons accompanying delegates will have the possibility of attending two of our evening dinners. However space is limited. Please see our website for details at www.nds2017.com

 

Social walk/run for NDS Symposium Delegates

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The Sheraton Centre will host a special edition for the NDS guests in the morning (7:00am-8:00am) on October 12th and October 13th. See our website for details www.nds2017.com under What’s new.

 

La Balade Pour La Paix: An Open-Air Museum

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A public art exhibition along one kilometre of Sherbrooke Street West created by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for Montreal’s 375th anniversary.
The route features 67 stations (30 sculptures and 42 photographs) by Canadian and international artists. It is lined with the flags of the close to 200 member countries of the United Nations, along with those of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories.
See www.375mtl.com/en

 

Registration Is Open!

For the NDS 2017 Montreal Symposium
At www.nds2017.com (or click here)

Please consult our website and make your choice of the Breakout sessions, Off- site workshops and Pre-Symposium tours before beginning the registration process.

Rendez-vous à Montréal !

 

October 12 - 15, 2017
Almost Here!

 

Coming to Montreal? Find out what you need.

1.  Valid passport expiring more than 6 months after the travel date

2.  Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA): exemptions include U.S. citizens, travellers with a valid Canadian visa and Canadian citizens.  Please refer to the Government of Canada site for more information www.cic.gc.ca