Docent Program

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Applications are no longer being accepted for the 2018-2019 Docent program.

What is a Docent?
Docents are adult volunteers who lead art-based experiences in the Museum galleries for school and community groups. Docents are an essential component of the Ackland’s education programs, which engage a broad spectrum of audiences from UNC-Chapel Hill, regional K-12 schools, and the community. Docents’ responsibilities include participating in Docent training sessions, preparing for and teaching in the galleries, and assessing their own teaching in the program.

What do Ackland Art Museum Docents do?
The Ackland Art Museum Docents are a dedicated group of volunteer educators who offer their time, talents, and expertise to support the Museum’s education programs. Each year, these programs serve over 5,000 people – K-12 teachers and students, community members, and local organizations. The majority of these audiences are elementary and middle-school-aged children; they also include high-school students and adults.

What are the benefits of being an Ackland Docent?

  • The joy of working with and learning from Museum visitors.
  • Being part of a team of skilled educators who love to connect people with original works of art.
  • Personal and intellectual growth. Docents have continuing opportunities to learn about art, the collection, teaching, and learning.

What are the qualifications and characteristics of a successful Ackland Art Museum Docent?
We are looking for people who are interested in art and who are able to engage meaningfully with members of the diverse communities we serve. Successful Ackland Docents are excellent communicators who value and demonstrate flexibility, teamwork, and creativity.

Docent training_2012_croppedDo I have to have expertise in art history?
No. Prior background or expertise in art, art history, or teaching is NOT REQUIRED. Docents receive training that prepares them for guiding interactive tours and programs successfully.

What training will I receive?
Training occurs on Tuesday mornings (10:00 AM – 12:00 PM) from early September through mid-May. These required sessions focus on works of art in the Ackland’s collection, learning styles, child development, and discussions of touring strategies.

When do I begin teaching groups?
Throughout the fall, new Docents will observe at least five (5) tours led by Museum staff or experienced Docents. In the spring, new Docents will begin co-teaching with an experienced Docent and will teach a full tour independently by May of their first year in the program.

Are there any costs involved in being a Docent?
New Docents must become Ackland Art Museum members and membership must be renewed every year. Docents may join at the Educator level (benefits of an Individual Membership) or purchase a higher level membership option. For more information about membership, go to:

Docents in the program are responsible for their own transportation and parking expenses. For more information about public transportation and parking near the Ackland, go to

Application details:
Applications will be accepted through 31 May 2018. Review of applications will begin 1 June 2018. Select candidates will be invited for interviews and final selections will take place in July 2018.

Questions?  Contact Jenny Marvel, Head of School and Community Programs, at 919.962.4179 or