Docents at the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, have long had access to copies of The Docent Educator as it arrives throughout the year. However, upon the recent death of my mother, a life-long teacher who clearly understood the role of art education, docents made a contribution to the Education Fund in her honor. I could think of no better investment of that memorial than to obtain a group subscription to The Docent Educator. Each quarter ten copies of the magazine arrive at Sheldon. Each copy is given to a docent who has been honored in the past year with the distinction going to a docent who earns an award, for example, for Most Overall Tours, Most Tours by a New Docent, etc.
Since we all know that there are “no free lunches,” those “winners” in turn are required not only to share the magazine with others, but also to report at a monthly Docent Briefing. This has been a tremendous use of The Docent Educator and, as a result, far more docents have access to its rich content, as a result. This wonderful publication also is utilized in other ways in the museum community on the UNL campus.
I teach a graduate course, “Museum Education,” in the University’s Museum Studies Program. As part of that course, students receive copies of the publication in advance of the segment on docent training and then report on the contents to the class. Students in that course, most of whom hope to end up in the perfect museum education career, are pleased to learn of the existence of The Docent Educator and are eager to incorporate its valuable tips and techniques into their planning as well as their library holdings.
One of Sheldon’s seventy-plus docents, an annual winner of a Memorial Prize copy of The Docent Educator for giving the most tours, also teaches pre-service art education at the University in which she routinely uses the information contained in the publication with her students.
Karen Janovy, Curator of Education, Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden, Lincoln, Nebraska
Janovy, Karen. “It Works for Me…Sharing Successful Techniques and Ideas,” The Docent Educator 11.3 (Spring 2002): 7.