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Volunteer Docent Program

Volunteer Docent Program

Get Involved

The Volunteer Docent Program at the Rubin Museum of Art facilitates a connection between Museum visitors and the art, cultures, and people of the Himalayan regions. 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. They learn the basic tenets of Buddhism and how these principles might interact with their own lived experience. Through research and intensive training, the Volunteer Docent Program organizes and presents thematic gallery tours, gallery talks, and other educational initiatives. With this unique approach in mind, it is the Museum’s mission to see that every visitor gains some insight and understanding of the exhibitions through the informed presence of the Volunteer Docents.

See exhibitions currently on view

Requirements 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 Wednesdays of each week from 4:30 until 6:00 pm for a period of 10 weeks from October through December.
  • 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 monthly 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.
  • Access to the entire archive of training and education videos and files.


Applications for the 2022 Volunteer Docent Class have closed. Please complete and submit an online application to be considered for the next Volunteer Docent Class.

Please email with questions or for more information.

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