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Museum Docents

Docent Geraldine Whitley gives a tour of the exhibit Reclaiming the Edge: Urban Waterways and Civic Engagement.

The word docent comes from the Latin word doc─ôre (to teach, or lecture). The museum's docents play an integral role in helping interpret museum exhibition content to visitors in the form of public tours. They are the museum's front-line ambassadors to the general public and are a crucial component in helping the education department fulfill its interpretive mission. Docents receive training by museum education staff on proper tour techniques, age-specific learning, and group behavior dynamics. Docents also help the museum in other ways. They offer their time to assist with museum events and also help in the recruitment of new docents.

Anyone wishing to become a museum docent should apply through the Smithsonian volunteer online portal: