Become a Docent

Get Involved - Become a Docent!

Docents are a vital part of the educational mission of the Palmer Museum of Art. They are volunteer educators who provide tours of the museum’s permanent collection and special exhibitions to a vast public audience. Docents facilitate personal interaction, education, and enrichment between museum visitors and artwork. They develop expertise through ongoing training, research, and continuing education.

Qualities that make a great docent are: the ability to communicate effectively with others, a warm and friendly attitude, a commitment of the time and effort, and a sincere interest in art history and art education.

Docent training for candidates is held on Monday mornings in the Palmer Lipcon Auditorium beginning in September and ending in December. Training consists of in-depth discussion of the permanent collection and architectural aspects of the building, tour techniques, communication methods, age-appropriate concepts for touring, and questioning strategies. Texts for the class include a notebook with relevant articles and information as well as Penn State and Palmer Museum publications. Active docents are provided with training for special exhibitions and continuing education sessions throughout the academic year.

All docents are required to be members of the Friends of the Palmer Museum of Art. All volunteers must adhere to the museum’s mission and policies. Please submit your application by email to

Docent on Duty Program

The docents at the Palmer Museum of Art are on call and ready to answer your most pressing art-related questions—just ask for the Docent on Duty! You'll find a museum education volunteer seated in the lobby or walking through the galleries Tuesday through Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and before the game on Saturday when Penn State football plays at home.