Who Should Apply?
If you like to work with people, want to learn more about contemporary art, and have some time to volunteer, consider joining deCordova's outstanding team of Museum Guides. Guides are able to learn about the artists, artwork, and issues surrounding deCordova's Sculpture Park and contemporary exhibitions first-hand, while helping others make connections, discover, and understand the visual world around them. Volunteers do not need a background in art or teaching—deCordova’s guides have a variety of backgrounds and work experiences. All that we ask is that you be open-minded and willing to learn.
deCordova Museum Guide Program
The program is long-term (two-year minimum commitment) and trains volunteers to work as educators with a broad range of people who want to learn about art. Staff from the Curatorial and Education Departments train and manage the Museum Guide program, and work with Museum Guides to develop inquiry-based touring techniques based on the Museum’s exhibitions and collections. The relatively intimate program size (30–45 Museum Guides) allows for a close connection with deCordova’s staff and other experienced Museum Guides. A select group of Museum Guides form the Museum Guides Council to develop policies, provide feedback to staff, and serve as liaisons between the Museum Guides and staff.
Because the actual investment of time intensifies and wanes as the exhibitions change, our Museum Guide program requires flexibility. The commitment of a Museum Guide averages three to five hours per week for the year. This includes scheduled training sessions and a minimum of 20 required tours per year.
Interested candidates should fill out an application. Staff will interview each candidate to answer questions about the program. Once interviewed and accepted into the program, enrollment in the Museum Guide Training Course is mandatory. Acceptance into the program requires candidates to commit to being Museum Guides for at least a year after the initial training course is over, for a total of a minimum two-year commitment.
What happens after the training course?
After the course, Museum Guides meet for trainings on each changing exhibition. Typically, there are three major exhibitions cycles per year as well as annual trainings on the Sculpture Park and the Permanent Collection. Training for an exhibition is required in order to tour that exhibition. In addition to tours and training, Museum Guides have the opportunity to participate in two field trips per year, as well as social gatherings such as a holiday party and an end-of-the-year potluck. Museum Guides are also invited to many deCordova programs and events.
In addition to sharing and discovering art with others, Museum Guides are offered tuition discounts at deCordova School, free or discounted tickets to deCordova events, free admission to deCordova, and free admission to other museums. Our Museum Guides have the opportunity to meet exhibiting artists during training sessions and exclusive meetings before exhibition openings, socialize with interesting people, and gain an insider’s view of deCordova. Museum Guides also receive discounts at deCordova Store and deCordova Café.