Museum Docents: Personal Success in Position Dependent on Prior Educational Background?




Mitowski, Ellyn

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The purpose of this thesis is to contribute to the success of educational programs in museums by asking whether educational background (prior to work in a museum exhibit as a docent) has an impact on whether docents see themselves as successful in the position. This study concludes that prior educational backgrounds should not and does not determine whether or not an individual should be given a position as a docent in a museum. Based on the small sample engaged here, the finding is that there need be no previous knowledge of a subject matter in order for an individual to become a docent in an exhibit. Educational background was also found to not be the determining factor in whether or not individuals see themselves as being a successful docent. This study is focused on the perspective of the docent. From that point of view, training programs are found to play a larger role in a docent’s perception of success than their educational background. This study contributes to the effort to improve the use of docents and the experience of the visitor at diverse museum exhibitions as it focuses on the interaction between these parties during a visit to an exhibit rather than the exhibit itself.



Museum, Docent, Volunteer, Volunteer/docent training