Wanted: DAR Museum Docents

Written by: Hayley Prihoda, Assistant Curator of Education
September 11, 2017

Looking for an exciting service opportunity? The DAR Museum Docent Committee is seeking enthusiastic, welcoming individuals to join the DAR Museum docent program. DAR Museum docents offer tours of Memorial Continental Hall and the museum’s 31 period rooms (many docents are DAR members, but it is not a requirement). Every year, our docents provide tours for about 4,000 visitors from over seventy different countries. Discover more benefits of being a DAR Museum docent below.

  • Life-long Learning: Continuing education is an important component of the DAR Museum docent program. Meetings are held from 10am-noon on the second Tuesday of the month from September – May; docents are expected to attend a minimum of four sessions per year. Continuing education activities include private tours with curators, in-depth investigations of museum objects, readings on best practices in museum education, exploring new gallery spaces and upcoming exhibits, discussions on American history, and more.
  • Field Trips: In addition to on-site docent training sessions, the DAR Museum docents visit nearby museums to learn about their collections and touring practices. Last year our docents traveled to Yorktown, VA to explore the new American Revolution Museum at Yorktown and the Yorktown Custom house. These opportunities connect DAR Museum docents with volunteers and museum professionals in the area, further developing our skills as historians and tour guides.
  • Community: In addition to attending docent meetings, docents are expected to serve at least two volunteer shifts a month. Volunteer shifts are Monday-Friday 10am-3pm or Saturday 9am-1pm and 1pm-5pm. Two docents are typically assigned to each day, providing an opportunity to get to know your fellow docents. All docents in training (DITs) are also assigned a docent mentor to provide guidance about museum tours and serve as a friendly face. Becoming a docent is a great way to connect with other like-minded people in the area.
  • Sharing our Story: Through our 31 period rooms, the DAR Museum tells the story of the American home from the 18th – 20th centuries. Museum tours explore how American interiors reflect changing notions of gender roles and concepts of public/private living space. As the only decorative arts museum in Washington, D.C., we offer a unique contribution to the American tale. What will you add?

You do not need a background in the decorative arts or American history to apply. Simply bring your enthusiasm for learning and working with the public. This is an on-site volunteer position best suited for volunteers in or nearby the DC-metro area. Interested? We are now interviewing for the spring 2018 Docent Training class. If you’d like to learn more, we are happy to connect you with a member of staff or an active docent. Please email hprihoda@dar.org or call (202) 879-3240 with questions.

The DAR Museum docents are invaluable members of the DAR Museum and we’d love to add you to the community. As Rachel Wills (an active docent of 39 years) said, “It’s great fun! You learn a lot [and] you get to be the face of the DAR.”

Docent applications are available on the DAR Museum website. Completed applications should be emailed to hprihoda@dar.org or mailed to:

Hayley Prihoda
Daughters of the American Revolution
1776 D Street NW
Washington, DC 20006

We hope you will join us!

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