Docents bring art education to museum visitors, students, and the local community through many different programs. In fact the word “docent” is derived from the Latin word docere meaning “to teach.”
All that’s required to join this group of fun, inquisitive, enthusiastic people is a love of art and a commitment to volunteering, and a desire to learn. The Docent training program spans a 9 month training period and focuses on three main areas: a knowledge of the collections and historic properties; a cultivation of touring skills; and an understanding of art history including major periods and important artists.
Once you become a docent, you can choose to lead exhibition and gallery tours, present art talks to the public, bring art programs to local schools and so much more!
Docent Training FAQs
What fees are required to participate in the Training Program?
The fee for docent training is $250 for TMA members/$300 for non-members (includes membership fee) and includes class materials, speaker stipends and related expenses.
Additionally, trainees are required to bring a mobile device to each class session to connect to the classroom wireless network.
After completion of the Training Program, docents are required to be annual members of the museum as well as annual members of the Docent Council ($35).
What makes becoming a TMA docent a unique opportunity?
Tucson Museum of Art is committed to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access. We strive to be a responsive, community-centered institution. We also strive to represent, activate and advocate for our communities. We are guided by the principles of relevancy, community, respect and acknowledging multiple points of view.
The Class of 2024 will participate in a rigorous training program, learning TMA- adopted visual thinking strategies and open-ended questioning techniques reinforced by voices from our communities. Trainees will engage in role-playing, in-gallery conversations in dialogue with curators, and encounters with community partners. We aim to help all visitors appreciate the museum experience and to look forward to subsequent visits.
Our training class prepares volunteers to facilitate a meaningful experience for each visitor; consider a variety of historical and creative perspectives; and serve as museum ambassadors in the museum, community and schools.
When/where does class meet?
When training occurs, class meets weekly on Tuesdays on the TMA campus in the Alice Chaiten Baker Art Education Center.
What are the physical requirements?
Primary functions require sufficient physical ability and mobility to work in a non- traditional setting; to stand for prolonged periods of time; to frequently stoop, bend, kneel, crouch, reach, and twist; to lift, carry, push, and/or pull light to moderate (up to 20 pounds) amounts of weight; to operate office equipment requiring repetitive hand movement to include use of a computer keyboard; to operate various equipment required to perform job; and to verbally communicate to exchange information. May be exposed to various hazardous conditions such as infectious disease.
Is proof of Covid vaccination required to participate in training?
Yes, in compliance with TMA policy, all trainees and docents must submit proof of full Covid vaccination. You may submit a photo of your vaccination card to Morgan Wells, Director of Education, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Where can I park?
In addition to TMA’s parking lot, there is convenient parking nearby: covered garages, parking lots and street parking. See more options.
How much does Docent Training cost?
Trainees must be TMA members prior to enrolling. The cost of an individual membership is $50. The cost of the class is $300. Those who wish to request tuition assistance may contact Morgan Wells, Director of Education at email@example.com. After completion of training, docents are required to be annual members of TMA ($50 individual) as well as annual members of the TMA Docent Council ($40 annually).
What can I expect from the training?
The class will divide into small groups mentored by experienced docents. This group will be your “family” throughout training. Morgan Wells, Director of Education, will teach the class, augmented by highly experienced docents. Outside speakers may include University of Arizona and Pima Community College faculty, members of Indigenous communities, and other community voices. The class is managed by the vice presidents for training.
What is expected of me as a trainee?
• Attend weekly classes, as described above
• Bring a laptop or computer to class every week that can connect with the
classroom’s wireless network
• Have access to a printer to prepare for class
• Complete all assignments
• Shadow and co-present museum and community tours
• Prepare and deliver assigned tours to classmates and write Gallery Conversation starters
• Attend designated Docent Council Education Meetings
• Attend one or more Art Talks given at TMA on the second Sunday of the month
• Prepare and deliver a 30-minute final tour
• Become familiar with the various programs offered by the museum and the Docent Council
• Demonstrate a willingness to learn, meet new people and bring enthusiasm and an open mind to our training process!
In addition to in-class hours, trainees spend time outside class reading, preparing and practicing tours, and completing assignments.
Every docent acknowledges and agrees that all content created by docents for the Tucson Museum of Art (TMA) or in support of programmatic endeavors is the intellectual property of the museum and can be used by TMA on any platform in perpetuity.
What if I need to miss a class?
While trainees are expected to attend and participate in every class and complete all class assignments, including tour shadowing and field trips, we understand that unforeseen life circumstances occur. Trainees are expected to consult, in advance, with their small group mentors regarding any absence.
What are my obligations after I complete training?
Every year, docents are required to complete 50 hours of service and 15 hours of education between July 1 and June 30. Service hours for the first two years include 12 Visitor Service Desk sessions; leading five scheduled tours per year; and participating on docent committees. Education hours can be accrued by attending Art Talks, curator- led tours, TMA lecture events, and monthly Docent Council Education Meetings.
To request an application or for further information, contact TMA Director of Education Morgan Wells: firstname.lastname@example.org