​Calling Art Lovers, Museum Nerds, and Curious Questioners


Posted on April 29, 2020


​Calling Art Lovers, Museum Nerds, and Curious Questioners

Calling Art Lovers, Museum Nerds, and Curious Questioners

McNay docents are now accepting applications for the 2020–2021 class.


McNay Docent Chair-Elect 2020-2021 Mary Arno shares:

Anyone who loves art, learning, and people would love to be a docent at the McNay.


What is a docent?

The term literally translates as teacher. At the McNay, docents discussing art with students on tours aligns with the McNay’s Mission: to engage a diverse community in the discovery and enjoyment of the visual arts.


What does a McNay docent do?

Offer student and adult tour experiences primarily on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings; but tours are also offered on weekends and Thursday evenings.



What does a tour “look like”?

Typically 45 minutes to an hour in length depending on the age group, Tours are both sharing information as well as asking questions. Questions invite the McNay visitors to think, compare, and evaluate the ideas that are exchanged, and all these thought processes lead to new understanding and insights. Learning (and touring) takes place through conversation.


One of the most rewarding things about being a docent is connecting with Museum visitors through a dialogue about works of art. Never underestimate what can happen in the span of a tour.



What does new docent training involve? 

Training year requires a significant commitment at the outset. Meetings take place twice a week for about four to five hours weekly from October to March. Training consists of class time where we study art history, especially as it pertains to the McNay’s collection; and time spent in the Museum’s galleries learning about touring strategies with works in our collection. Kate Carey, the McNay’s Head of Education teaches the class, but Museum curators, staff, fellow docents, and guest speakers assist with training. After completing training, all docents commit to monthly training sessions, and three half days of continuing education in September and January.



My love of art grew in ways I never could have imagined after going through docent training.


A little history:
Founded in 1964 by a small group of Junior League volunteers led by Peggy Pitman Mays and Marcia King, the McNay docent program has a long history of commitment and training that has expanded accordingly as the Museum and its collection has grown over the years.


I’m interested; what are my next steps?

Send an email to education@mcnayart.org and you will be put in touch with our New Docent Sponsor (Emily Cayuso). After a phone call, you will receive an application via email. Complete and return the application, and interviews will be scheduled for sometime in July. Although these interviews typically take place in person, we are making plans to conduct them virtually. Orientation for the new class is tentatively scheduled for October of 2020.

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