110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Information session set for Monday, Sept. 16
By Pat Andrews
posted Sep 6, 2013 - 12:50:04pm
First, what is a docent? The word means "to teach" in Latin. The Museum of Art (formerly the Museum of Florida Art) at 600 N. Woodland Blvd. in DeLand is looking for a few good docents to assist patrons at the museum.
The docents, who are volunteers, help museum visitors understand what they see when they tour a gallery, and teach through talking with the visitors. Sometimes docents help with hand-on arts programs.
A passion for the arts and enjoying conversation with people are essential.
Traditionally, docents have led groups through museums, lecturing as they went. That was old school. Today's docents are hands-on and interactive.
A background in the arts, college degree included, helps. That's only the beginning, however. Previous education will be augmented by a year's training to become a docent.
"It's sort of like a college art-appreciation course, but more intense," Museum of Art Education Curator Pam Coffman explained. An education course is part of the curriculum.
Student docents learn about learning styles, about art, and teaching people of different ages.
"They're getting an education themselves," Coffman said.
A docent-trainee group usually meets twice a month for a year. While there's no charge for the course, students will have to buy textbooks.
Docents who successfully complete the course are asked to make a year's commitment for leading tours and being involved in art-appreciation programs. A group of five docents recently completed a course.
While there are no paychecks, the job has its rewards. Along with sharing enthusiasm for art, docents are rewarded with involvement in the museum and with its staff members, who share common interests. Docents have the opportunity to hear lectures by museum curators, visiting scholars and artists – free.
Anyone who's interested in becoming a docent is asked to attend an informational meeting at 2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, at the museum at 600 N. Woodland Blvd. in DeLand. Dates for the training will be set after that.
For more information, call Coffman at 386-734-4371, or send her an email at coffman@MuseumofFloridaArt.org.
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