SAN JOSE MUSEUM OF ART
Docent Position Description and Volunteer Agreement
The purpose of this document is to clarify the mutual responsibilities of the Volunteer Active
Docent and the San Jose Museum of Art that enable each Docent to provide meaningful and
competent service to the visitors of the Museum.
Active Docent Position Description
Upon successful completion of the basic training course, SJMA active docents agree to serve the SJMA Docent Council by leading tours in the galleries for a minimum of three years. SJMA Docents have a strong interest in serving the Museum’s visitors and demonstrate an ability and willingness to communicate with different audiences. SJMA Docents should display flexibility, responsibility, and respect with regards to Museum visitors, staff, and their fellow volunteers.
As a Volunteer Active Docent I agree to:
1. Maintain membership in the San Jose Museum of Art and its Docent Council.
2. Complete an Availability Form by dedicating the same day each week as my primary tour
day. Once I have been scheduled, I am responsible for finding my own substitute.
3. Commit to a minimum of 4 gallery hours per month.
4. When I am the designated Lead Docent, phone the contact person listed on my tour
schedule in advance of any pre-scheduled tour.
5. Attend exhibition briefings and peer support sessions as scheduled by the Education
Department, and carefully review all materials provided in preparation for touring.
6. Make-up a missed exhibition briefing before giving any tours by reviewing the briefing
notes, the video recording, and following another docent on a tour.
7. Return all videos, audio tapes, miscellaneous materials within three days of check-out.
8. Attend and participate in monthly Docent General Meetings and the Annual Dinner.
9. Serve on the Docent Council Board and/or Board Committees as requested.
10. Submit in writing, at least 30 days in advance, the proper forms for all requests for leaves
or changes of status to the Docent Chair, who will forward a copy to the Curator of Ed.
11. In case of sudden illness or emergency, consult my team list and make every possible effort
to find a substitute to cover my tour. Following that, I will immediately notify the Museum
(271-6840) of the substitution or (last resort) vacancy.
12. Submit a monthly record of my volunteer hours worked.
13. Read and adhere to the policies and procedures stated in the Docent Council
By-Laws and Standing Rules found in the Docent Handbook.
The San Jose Museum of Art and its Education Department Agree to:
1. Provide the opportunity to serve the public through the art collections and special
2. Provide a safe workplace and supportive atmosphere that emphasizes professional
standards, active inquiry, constructive debate, personal growth, and meaningful interaction
among docents, staff, and the public.
3. Provide an “open door” policy and time for one-on-one appointments with education staff
for docents seeking assistance, guidance, or wanting to discuss any ideas or concerns.
4. Provide quality, on-going training that includes, but is not limited to: the fields of adult
education, aesthetic development and philosophy, art history, visual literacy, peer support,
and working with visitors who have disabilities and/or specific needs.
5. Provide slide lectures, exhibition briefings, written briefing notes and other reading
materials in a timely manner that enables docents to adequately prepare for touring.
6. By the 20th of each month, mail out the next month’s tour schedule to all active docents.
7. Keep docents well informed of their tour assignments, meetings, and briefings; and keep
accurate service records.
8. Provide all active docents with available, current exhibition catalogs to purchase at the
lowest cost possible.
9. Provide use of the volunteer office and the Museum’s library.
11. Provide current exhibition catalogs for reference shelf in the Docent Station and/or library.
12. With support of the Docent Video Chair, provide three-day check-out of audio and video
recordings of most exhibition briefings and lectures.
13. Upon request, provide a job reference based on the docent’s Museum service.
• I have read my position description and
volunteer agreement and agree to these
terms as an Active Docent at the San Jose
Museum of Art beginning July 1, 2003 and
ending June 30, 2004.
• I will make this personal commitment to
enable the docent program to function effectively.
• I have read the position description and
volunteer agreement for an Active Docent
and agree to provide the support for Active
Docents working at the San Jose Museum
of Art beginning July 1, 2003 and ending
June 30, 2004.
Curator of Education, Interpretation