The Rubin
Volunteer Docent Program

Volunteer Docent Program

The Volunteer Docent Program at the Rubin Museum of Art facilitates a connection between museum visitors and Asian art. By providing people with engaging, informative experiences in the galleries, the Volunteer Docent Program encourages visitors to look and think deeply while exploring the arts, culture, religion, and iconography of Tibet, India, the Himalayas, and surrounding regions. Through research and intensive training the Volunteer Docent program organizes and presents thematic gallery tours, gallery talks and other educational initiatives, and roaming educators on gallery floors. With this unique approach in mind, it is the mission of the museum to see that every visitor gains some insight and understanding of the exhibitions through the informed presence of the Volunteer Docents.

Orientation Training Period for Prospective Volunteer Docents

  • No prior art history background or work experience is required to join the program. Prospective Volunteer Docents should be comfortable working and communicating with the public.
  • Prospective Volunteer Docents are required to attend all orientation training sessions, seminars, educational lectures and designated events. The required training sessions are generally held on Mondays or Wednesdays of each week from 5:30 until 7:00 pm for a period of 15 weeks.
  • Final approval by the Docent Coordinator is achieved through the successful completion of the required training program, creation of a thematic tour outline, and gallery presentation.

Active Volunteer Docent Commitments

  • An Active Volunteer Docent is committed to serving in the museum Docent Program for at least one year which involves attending trainings and leading tours on a regular basis.
  • We ask that Docents commit to a block of time during the week when they are available to lead tours. This can be on a day when the Docent is already scheduled to lead a public tour.
  • Volunteer Docents should attend weekly ongoing professional development training sessions. All trainings are intended to further knowledge about current and upcoming exhibitions as well as the arts, culture, religion, and iconography of Tibet, India, the Himalayas, and surrounding regions.

Volunteer Docent Benefits

  • In return for your time and efforts, the museum offers a range of discounts on purchases in the shop and cafe, program tickets, gift memberships, and more.
  • Volunteer Docents interact directly with museum staff and many of the artists, scholars, curators, filmmakers, and visiting guests who attend the museum.
  • As an adult education program, the Volunteer Docent program offers an opportunity to develop public speaking skills, to broaden one’s knowledge of the art of Tibet, India, the Himalayas and beyond, and to encourage a sense of achievement in interacting with the public in a warm and friendly environment.


The Application submission to the 2016 Docent Orientation has closed. If you are interested in being added to our wait-list for information on upcoming orientations, please complete our online application.