Open 12 – 5 PM, Tuesday - Sunday
The Museum will be closed Thanksgiving week, November 21-27.


A docent is a teacher, serving the Museum and the community in the field of art education. The word “docent” is derived from the Latin word ‘docere,’ meaning ‘to teach.’ Docents are knowledgeable, enthusiastic people who act as liaisons between the Museum and the general public. They are professional volunteer Museum staff members.

Docents contribute to the Muscarelle Museum of Art in several ways:

Touring: Docents serve as tour guides for children and adults visiting the Museum.
Research: Docents prepare background information on the works of art in the collection of the
Museum, special exhibitions, and new acquisitions.
Outreach: Docents give presentations at local schools and community organizations.

Visitor to our 2017 exhibition "Botticelli and the Search for the Divine: Florentine Painting between the Medici and the Bonfires of the Vanities." Photo by Lex Rowland.

Docents can expect to participate in satisfying experiences working with children, students, and community members. There are many networking opportunities with artists, art professionals, and community leaders. You can also expect to expand your understanding of art and be challenged by new ideas. Being involved with the Docent Program increases involvement with William & Mary and the community at large and promotes academic excellence. The Docents at the Muscarelle Museum of Art are energetic, spirited, enthusiastic, and dedicated to the program.

Museum staff member gives tour

The training program lasts six months. Docent training is offered every other year.

Visitor to our 2018 exhibition "In the Light of Caravaggio: Dutch and Flemish Paintings from Southeastern Museums." Photo by Lex Rowland.

From September to April, during the year, Museum professional staff, lecturers, and active docents lead the trainees in several areas including the study of art history, museum education, formal elements of art, as well as the history and collections of the Museum. Provisional Docents develop public speaking skills, research skills, and attend workshops.

Interested people should not feel intimidated by the subject matter studied in the Docent training classes. Muscarelle Museum of Art Docents come from a wide range of backgrounds and professions.

Visitor to our 2018 exhibition "In the Light of Caravaggio: Dutch and Flemish Paintings from Southeastern Museums."

Provisional Docents meet only two hours on the second and fourth Mondays with exception of December, each Monday 9 AM to 11 AM from September through April. Additional hours each week may be required for research, reading assignments, preparation of writing and speaking assignments, and/or observation of Active Docents as they tour in the Museum and speak in the community.

Membership in the Muscarelle Museum of Art Docent Program requires a minimum two-year commitment.

Active Docents are available to volunteer a minimum of eight hours per month and attend training sessions. Active docents usually meet second Monday of the month, 9 AM to 11 AM from September through May except during holiday seasons.

Active Docents are entitled to a number of benefits including a tuition waiver for one class each semester at William & Mary, a library card from Earl Gregg Swem Library with full library privileges, and the opportunity to participate in a number of field trips and special Docent-only events.

You will be required to become a member of the Muscarelle Museum of Art.  Membership information can be found here.

Visitors to our 2017-2018 exhibition "Building on the Legacy." Photo by Andrew Uhrig W&M '20.

Complete the application form. The docent training team will conduct an interview. We are looking for people who have an interest in and a commitment to the Docent Program.

For further information, please contact

SHAN GOSHORN | American, 1957 - 2018 | Laying the Foundation (detail), 2016 | Arches watercolor paper splints printed with archival ink, acrylic paint, gold foil | © Shan Goshorn | Acquired with funds from the Board of Visitors Muscarelle Museum of Art Endowment | 2016.214

Already a Muscarelle Museum of Art Docent?
Access the Docent Portal below.