Founded in 1967 to provide educational experiences for the broader Princeton community, the Princeton University Art Museum Docent Association is an integral part of the Art Museum’s educational initiatives.
All Museum Docents:
- Conduct tours for children and adults as well as our weekend Highlights Tours
- Welcome and orient our visitors by staffing the Information Desk
- Attend General Meetings, held on Monday afternoons during the academic year, which provide continuing education and serve as a forum for dialogue
Docents help run many of our family, K–12, and adult programs, including:
- Art for Families: Docents assist children and their families with our Saturday morning Art for Families program. Activities include self-guided tours, hands-on art projects, and storytelling.
- Frances Lange Public Schools Program: This program brings elementary school children from Trenton-area schools to the Art Museum over the course of a year to learn about world art and cultures.
- Family Day: This popular annual event, which attracts more than 1,000 people, offers hands-on activities, live performances, storytelling, and scavenger hunts.
- Adult Mini Courses: Designed for self-organized groups of twelve to fifteen people, mini courses consist of three docent-led sessions, held once a week for three consecutive weeks.
New docents attend an intensive, one-and-a-half year training program, supervised by the Diane W. and James E. Burke Associate Director for Education. Training takes place twice a week during the academic year and consists of lectures, gallery sessions, research, and presentations to fellow trainees and other docents. Docents continue their education throughout their years of service by attending docent meetings, participating in study groups, attending gallery talks, and taking trips with fellow docents to other regional museums. Every two to three years, the Diane W. and James E. Burke Associate Director for Education develops an international tour, open to docents and their spouses, which focuses on specific areas of the collection.
Applicants need not have a background in art history. Successful docents will have the time and energy required to complete the course, an interest in sharing art and history with diverse audiences, and willingness to assume several years of service. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Interviews are usually conducted in the spring, and applicants are notified of the committee’s decision prior to summer. Note that the Association does not take a new class every year.
Ambassadors are essential to the Museum’s front-line team, welcoming all visitors to the Museum with a warm reception, gallery orientation, and additional information as needed. The program launched in fall 2015, and the Museum is honored to have a core of Museum Ambassadors dedicated to providing exceptional support to all visitors.
Museum Ambassadors complete one or two shifts at the Information Desk every month. The primary responsibilities at the Information Desk are:
- Greet all visitors to the Art Museum
- Provide gallery orientation and answer questions about “what’s on view”
- Be knowledgeable about the Museum’s collections, special exhibitions, and upcoming programs
- Be passionate about art, the Art Museum, and our mission, and share your enthusiasm with visitors
- Enjoy connecting with people of all ages and all backgrounds
Throughout the year, continuing education and special programs are designed for Museum Ambassadors:
- Tours of special exhibitions
- Gallery talks
- In-depth gallery or behind-the-scenes discussions
- Additional training sessions
- Social events
These programs are engaging, encourage camaraderie among the Ambassadors, and provide continuing education on the Museum’s exhibitions and collections. Ambassadors are not expected to be “experts” on art, but they should be knowledgeable about the Museum’s collections and be able to share an overview of all special exhibitions with visitors. Ambassadors are required to attend six special programs per year.
New Ambassadors attend two training sessions, each two and a half to three hours, at the Art Museum. The training includes tours of the collections, visitor service fundamentals, Museum information and resources, and Information Desk logistics and protocols. The training will provide all of the information you need to excel as an Ambassadors.
Applicants need not have a background in art history. Successful Ambassadors will have the time and energy to meet all requirements of the Ambassador program, a passion for sharing art with diverse audiences, and a penchant for engaging with visitors. Experience working in a customer service industry or working with the public is preferred.
For more information, email Brice Batchelor Hall at email@example.com.
Museum Docents and Ambassadors are required to become a member of the Art Museum by joining the Friends. There are many benefits to being a Friend, and your commitment to and support of the Art Museum is essential to your role as a Docent or Ambassador. We strive to welcome volunteers from all backgrounds. If joining the Friends is a financial concern, a limited number of complimentary memberships are available.