Touring Techniques

Dalí in the Details: Successful Strategies for Refreshing Tours from a Dalínian Perspective

This session will present an overview of new Dalí docent initiatives that have transformed a struggling program into a flexible model for engagement of visitors and docents. The Dalí has cultivated themed tours and established new perspectives on familiar works through such avenues as science, math, and religion. The Dalí will share the details of its docent training, its incorporation of new curricula and student participation, its teen docent program, the revamping of its junior docent program, the creation of the Dalí Docent Resource website, and the posting of all training lectures on its YouTube channel to keep information fresh and interesting. Come and learn from Dalí in the Details.

Presenters: Peter Tush, Curator of Education, and has worked at the Dali for twenty-five years Junior Docents, Teen Docents, Dali Science lecture series); Jay Boda, docent and co-creator of the online Dalí Docent Manual.


Experiencing Art through Hands-On Objects

Docents use hands-on objects to create and deepen connections with art in the galleries for visitors of all ages. The presentation will describe the Freer|Sackler hands-on collection and its day-to-day management, and will include an interactive teaching session using sample objects to answer the question, "Why use hands-on materials?" Participants will leave with ideas for building, maintaining, and using a hands-on collection at their own museum.

Presenters: Betsy Vourlekis, docent (seven years) and Chair of the Hands-On Committee; Sarah Linton, docent (seven years) and immediate past Chair of the Hands-On Committee; Hillary Rothberg, Education Specialist (four years) and Education Staff Liaison to the Hands-On Committee

Supporting Change: The Docent's Role

In 2008 Vizcaya Museum and Gardens developed an inquiry-based general introductory tour and began formally training docents in museum education, methodology, tour content, and facilitation techniques. Our session will share how a dedicated and determined group of docents supported the transition from offering lecture-based tours to facilitating more meaningful and memorable experiences for our visitors. Presenters will highlight how incorporating best practices from the field of museum education (training, shorter tours, evaluation implementation and docent partnering), was instrumental in successfully supporting the institution through a challenging process.

Presenters: Jo Mobley, docent (thirteen years), School Program Guide, and Mentor; Graciela Cordeiro, docent (fifteen years) and School Program Guide; Sharon Hartley, docent (twenty-six years), School Program Guide, and Mentor; Kathy Heinly, docent (twelve years), School Program Guide, and Mentor

The Museum as Muse: Connecting with New Audiences

The docents of the Museum of Anthropology will share their innovative approach to using untapped museum assets. "The Museum as Muse" focuses on the iconic architecture of the Museum building and challenges students to develop their creative thinking. Designed for middle and high school students, this program aligns with art, drafting, and computer design curricula. Participants will leave the session with the necessary tools to design their own unique programs.

Presenters: Jill Baird, Curator of Education and Public Programs (works alongside a committed group of Volunteer Associates to deliver Education programs); Sheila Carnahan, Gallery Guide and member of the Education Committee; Marilyn Bild, Gallery Guide and Co-chair of the Education Committee

Rules of Engagement: Best Practices

Docents need to win groups over immediately and maintain positive relationships with them throughout their tours. The first half of this session will offer tour tips, strategies, and techniques that are applicable in most cultural institutions. The second half will involve docent-centered role-playing activities that are both humorous and enlightening. Think you've seen and done it all as a docent? We might surprise you! Please join us for a lively, entertaining, and informative session on docent "best practices."

Presenters: Mary Marino Kozub, docent (five years) and Burchfield PenneyArt Center Museum Educator and Tour Manager (over four years) and a docent at the Albright Knox (five years); Mary G. Therrien, docent (five years; has led a wide variety of school, corporate, and special-needs tours)