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National Gallery of Art - EDUCATION
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An introduction to the School Docent Program

School docents conduct student-centered thematic tours for thousands of children of all ages from all over the country, providing rich and memorable experiences with works of art in the Gallery's collection. Docents engage students in conversations and activities that develop careful looking skills as well as personal interpretations of art.

As a community of learners, school docents support each other in all aspects of their work. They impart their experience and expertise formally, through joint staff-docent training, and informally, in book clubs, study sessions, and sharing of resources. Regular meetings and gatherings help them communicate effectively and collegially with peers and staff.

School docents receive extensive ongoing training in museum teaching, understanding our audience, and art history. Various formats are used to advance docent learning, such as workshops that cover various educational topics and model the best practices in teaching and applied educational theory; in-gallery discussions; lectures; pre- and post-session readings; and independent research.

New docents are expected to make a five-year commitment, which includes the two-year initial training. School tours are conducted from October to May for a total of 30 weeks. Docents are expected to be available to provide school tours on 25 days, for up to two tours per tour day.

Applications for the school docent program will be available exclusively on the National Gallery's Web site from November 10, 2008, to February 28, 2009. Applicants must submit completed applications by February 28, 2009. Interviews will be conducted between March and April 2009. Acceptance letters will be sent out at the end of April, and the new class of school docents will begin training in September 2009. If you have any questions, please view our frequently asked questions (FAQs) or e-mail docentcandidate@nga.gov.

Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to attend one of three informational meetings outlining the school docent program. At that time, applicants will have the opportunity to meet staff and current docents to learn more about the program and the candidate selection process. The meetings will take place in the East Building Small Auditorium on Thursday, February 19; Tuesday, February 24; and Monday, March 9. All programs begin at 10:15 a.m. and will last approximately 60 minutes. Please e-mail docentcandidate@nga.gov, giving your name and noting which informational meeting you will attend.

Continue to School Docent Web Application Form.