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Become a Docent
Docent Gianie Kim leads a tour in Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables, 2018. Photograph by Filip Wolak
If you have ever listened to a free public tour at the Whitney Museum, you already have an idea of what it means to be a Whitney docent. Docents welcome and engage visitors by giving extended introductory tours of current exhibitions and providing interpretive insights and historical context to the works of art on view. If you’re someone who has thought that it would be something you’d like to do, here is your opportunity!
We are looking for articulate, intelligent, and motivated people who are willing to make a long-term commitment to the Whitney community and to share their enthusiasm for art in a serious and thoughtful way. We are seeking talented people of all backgrounds—we value diversity of cultures, races and ethnicities, gender expressions, socioeconomic backgrounds, immigration status, and abilities. You can be a docent even if you work during the day, since training sessions and tours will be scheduled for days and evenings. Expertise in museum education and in modern or American art history is a plus, but not a prerequisite. Whitney docents come from a range of backgrounds. Current docents include recent college graduates, working professionals, retirees, artists, and stay-at-home parents and range in age from their 20s to their 70s. In addition, we are looking for candidates who are fluent in one or more foreign languages.
Open Call For Applications
We are now accepting applications for our new docent training program, which will begin in the fall of 2019. The training program is rigorous and covers modern American art history and theory as well as object research, analysis, and presentation and is a valuable experience in its own right. Around half of those who start the training program can be expected to become docents. Ongoing enrichment, professional development, and community-building are integral parts of the Docent Program.
Whitney docents volunteer their time and should be willing to make a minimum commitment to the docent program of two years after training, although many stay on much longer than that. Applicants must be available to tour on Mondays, Fridays, or weekends to apply. All docents are also expected to tour two to three times a month throughout the year, including summers.