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A docent is a volunteer tour guide at a museum. They perform many different tasks as needed in the museum galleries and work closely with the professional museum education staff.
Docents lead tours for school and adult groups, give gallery talks or focus tours, or supervise craft and activity stations.
Docents also represent the museum within the community by conducting outreach programs to local schools or other organizations.
Docents receive a great amount of training so they are familiar with the material they will be presenting. New docents follow veteran presenters to learn the material and different ways to present information.
Evaluations and Recognition
Most museums do yearly evaluations of docents. They are required to attend training sessions to keep up to date on new material and methodology. Docents are often recognized at annual banquets and award ceremonies.
Many museums give their docents free museum memberships, as long as they volunteer a certain number of hours each year.
I have been a professional historian, museum curator, and author for more than a decade. I have served as the Museums Editor at BellaOnline since 2004. I am qualified to serve as an expert in a variety of historical topics. My expertise includes the Victorian Age and McKinley's presidency, the Roaring Twenties, the 1950s, the flu, museum studies, material culture, architecture, and more. I have a BA in history and an MA in history museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program. Please see my bio on my employer's website for more: http://www.mckinleymuseum.org/speakers_bureau/speaker/2