Henry Art Gallery Recruiting Letter

Dear Prospective Exhibition Guide,
Thank you very much for your interest in the Henry Art Gallery Exhibition Guide program. Our exhibition guides perform one of the most important and far-reaching functions in the museum: introducing and deepening the experience of the exhibitions for tour groups of all ages. It is a stimulating experience for both visitors and guides, and is an essential part of a museum’s education program.

A background in art, art history, art education or docent training is helpful, but the main requirements are enthusiasm for modern and contemporary art (the museum’s mission) and an ability to share that with others.

Tour Outline
Most tours are offered at the Henry Tuesday – Friday throughout the day. Tours are also given Thursday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays. Guides may make themselves available for touring according to their schedule, but keep in mind that if you wish to work with children*, the majority of them will be coming in the mornings on weekdays. Tours last 60 minutes, and include both an exploration of selected artworks, and for school groups, a gallery project. Guides may give up to two tours in a row without a break, except under unusual circumstances. Please note that if you work fulltime it is still possible to be an exhibition guide at the Henry. Some tours occur after working hours and on weekends.

*Although the Henry welcomes all K-12 classes, the contemporary exhibitions at the Henry attract mostly middle and high school teachers and their students.


All interested individuals are invited to apply to be an exhibition guide. The Henry encourages and welcomes a diversity of opinions and backgrounds. We wish to form an exciting and enthusiastic corps of guides from all walks of life.

As applications are reviewed, the education staff will be looking for the following:

  1. An ability to speak articulately and teach creatively. An inventive mind can bring life and fun to your tour. A willingness to teach using the visual thinking process is essential.
  2. Flexibility. Although the curatorial focus at the Henry is on modern and contemporary art, exhibitions range from historical shows that include work from the 19th century to retrospectives of the modern period. Special exhibitions change every three months, and the collections are hung periodically. Tours are needed for both the collections and the special exhibitions.
  3. Dependability. Guides are expected to arrive a little early for their tour, and not to cancel unless there is an emergency.
  4. Ability to commit to the program. Involvement in the exhibition guide program both during training and after is demanding. Guides are expected to make a two-year commitment which combines training and subsequent work as a guide.
  5. Previous art background, or a willingness to develop one. Although past coursework in art or art history or docent training is not required to start the program, it is strongly recommended that guides complete one year of an art history survey to complement the training at the Henry. Guides are also encouraged to extend their training by continuously visiting other museums and galleries in the region.
Exhibition Guide Training at the Henry Art Gallery
Exhibition guide training consists of ten sessions, scheduled every Tuesday, January 14th-March 18, 2003 from 12:30-2:30pm, in the Henry Art Gallery Auditorium and galleries. Two absences are permitted.
Training will be given by Tamara Moats, curator of education, with guest sessions by the chief curator, curator of collections, director and UW faculty. A complete survey of the Henry collections will be presented (19th-century American painting, photography, textiles and prints) as well as thorough training in contemporary art. Guides will read about the artworks, study their context and background, and explore the curatorial themes of the exhibitions. Guides will also receive extensive training in guiding techniques, the stages of aesthetic development and how to effectively teach in a museum setting.Training also requires that guides observe several tours before doing their own. This will be accomplished by observation of either the curator of education or other experienced exhibition guides. New guides then give two practice tours for which they receive feedback before working on their own.

Following initial training, enrichment sessions are required throughout the year on approximately the first Wednesday of every month from 12:30 – 2:30pm. Field trips are also planned to other museums. Evaluation is done once a year, so that guides may continue to improve their touring techniques.
There is no training fee for this program, however, guides must be museum members and be reasonably able to commit two years to the program.
The exhibition guides at the Henry are a sincerely dedicated and extremely talented group. We look very forward to your application to this program. Your love of contemporary art and participation in this program will make you a part of the magic of bringing art and people together. Thank you very much for your interest.



Curator of Education Henry Art Gallery


Name ____________________________________________________________________
Address __________________________________________________________________
City ___________________________________ State ___________ Zip ______________
Telephone (day) ________________________ (eve) ______________________________
Email ___________________________________________
I am available to tour during these days and hours:
My background in studio art, art history or art education is:
My background in teaching is:
Reasons why I am interested in becoming an exhibition guide:
I have read the requirements of the program and am able to meet them to the best of my ability.
________________________________ _____________
Signature date