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The revised edition of our popular docent handbook - The Docent Handbook 2 - is now available for purchase. This valuable resource for docents, guides and interpreters from museums and cultural institutions of all types in the US and Canada is a stimulating and informative "nuts and bolts" manual.

For more information and ordering instructions, click this LINK

NDS Montreal - October 12 - 15, 2017 is almost here. You may need to expedite passport processing at this point to ensure delivery. Check the National Passport Information Center website for expedited processing details and additional fee schedule. 

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:
• 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!!

The Montreal NDS website has a great Plan Your Visit page. Here are the resources suggested and they are terrific:

The Montreal Tourism Office will help you plan your visit with a guide, maps and webcam. At the www.tourisme-montreal.org site, you will see Montreal at a glance, read about its restaurants, major shows, fashion, shopping, etc. 

In 2017, Montreal will celebrate its 375th anniversary. For more details, go to www.375mtl.com. This might entice you to prolong your visit! (Click English at the top right hand corner).

Thank you, Montreal NDS Committee, for helping us make the most of our trip!

Hope without Hype

Yellowstone Art Museum and Docent Host Alzheimer's Symposium 

A two-day symposium was held at the Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, MT in collaboration with the Alzheimer's Association, Montana Chapter.

The purpose was to bring the health care providers, family members and artists together to widen their understanding of Alzheimer's and related dementias and importantly the connections between the science and art. One of the hardest parts of dementia is communication. Art is one way for someone to communicate their feelings and tell their story when they have lost many other ways of communicating.

2017-2019 NDSC transition, 2017 Director Recruitment, The Docent Handbook 2, 2017, 2019 and 2021 Symposia

Henry Ford said, "If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." Mr. Ford must have had a premonition about the National Docent Symposium Council (NDSC) and National Docent Symposium (NDS). His statement is a good description of our organization, its mission, collegiality, vision, leadership and accomplishments. We have successfully been moving forward together since 1981 because of people like you who are supporters and contributors to our organization.

Here's a brief rundown of NDSC/NDS successes and moving forward together:

2017-2019 NDSC (Council) Transition-

The Council says good bye to veteran officers and directors and welcomes new officers and directors following the closing day of each biennial symposium. My two-year term as Council president ends officially on October 15 and I will be handing over the "gavel" to Mina Shea (San Francisco Museums of Fine Arts.) Mina has served on the Council for several years first as a San Francisco symposium co-chair and as vice-president for the past two years. A more capable and dedicated Council member would be hard to find. Docents/guides have much to look forward to under Mina's leadership.

Like many art museums that serve school-age visitors, the Walters Art Museum seeks to make connections between our objects and the subjects students study in the classroom. This includes language arts, social studies, and art, but also math and science. The goals of our "Mathematical Masterpieces" tour are to help students recognize the presence and importance of math in the visual arts, understand how people in different cultures and at different times used math in creating works of art. You don't have to be a mathematician, or even very comfortable with math, to use the activities and approaches of this tour to help students – and docents – see even familiar works of art in a different way.

The Muralist is set against the sweeping political backdrop of America's emergence from the Great Depression and Germany's anti-Semitism and WWII jack-booting. The book's central character, Alizée Benoit, is a young Jewish American artist painting murals for the Works Progress Administration (WPA.) She enters the circle of formidable young New York artists including Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner and Mark Rothko. By day they dutifully paint representational murals for the WPA. At night they drink, debate, argue and struggle with their feelings and emerging statements of art. Alizée begins to paint her feelings, increasingly colored by politics and the dire conditions in Europe, in a new, excitingly abstract way and encourages the others to do likewise.

As news from her Jewish family describes their worsening plight and increasing panic to get out of German occupied France, Alizée explores all avenues to help them immigrate to the United States. A chance encounter with Eleanor Roosevelt presents two potential opportunities for Alizée. Might the First Lady be able to facilitate the immigration of her family? And, could her support open the eyes of critics and the public to new, non-representational art?



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.

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.

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.

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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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 !


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


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


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


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