One of my most broadening and enjoyable experiences was becoming a docent at the Dallas Museum of Art. My time with them was brief because I went back to school to learn more about art history, learned how to use a computer for digital imaging instead, and then started teaching Photoshop to seniors! However, I wouldn't have wanted to miss this experience!
The DMA (http://www.dm-art.org/index.htm), like most large museums, has many ways to you can become involved and help out. As they say:
"Looking for a meaningful and rewarding way to make new friends and help the Museum at the same time? Become a Dallas Museum of Art volunteer!"
As with most volunteering opportunities, you do make interesting friends and learn a great deal as well!
Here are some of the options this particular museum has to offer:
The Visitor Services Desk
The Visitor Services Desk is the gateway to the Museum. Volunteers greet visitors, answer questions, give directions, and sell exhibition tickets. Opportunities also exist for those interested in assisting with membership sales.
The Dallas Museum of Art seeks volunteers with excellent people skills to assist with the award-winning Late Nights series. Late Nights occur the third Friday of each month from 6:00 p.m. to midnight and are free to the public with paid admission to the Museum. Visitors enjoy live music, tours of the collections, performances in the galleries, and more.
Go Van Gogh
Go van Gogh® brings art programs to Dallas-area elementary students. Programs consist of thirty-minute slide presentations followed by thirty-minute art activities.Training takes place every Friday in September (from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) and once a month from October to April.
Volunteers are asked to give programs two mornings a month during the school year. They travel by van with a Museum staff person to area schools. The Go van Gogh® program also participates in area festivals such as ArtFest, Cinco de Mayo, and Imagination Celebration. No training is required for these events and the time commitment depends on the particular festival.
This program involves a large time commitment. If you don't have that time you can volunteer for something less strenuous and check it out from that perspective.
The website says, "The desire to communicate the power of art to others is the main requirement to become a docent. After completing a yearlong training program consisting of lectures, gallery talks, and workshops led by Museum staff and outside experts, docents conduct weekly tours for groups of visitors ranging from elementary school students to international dignitaries. All Dallas Museum of Art docents may train and conduct tours of the Nasher Sculpture Center in addition to their commitment to the Dallas Museum of Art program. We are not currently accepting applications for the docent program. Information will be posted when recruitment for a new class begins."
Wherever you are you almost certainly have access to a museum, large or small, and most of them would just love to have your help and support!
When asked about volunteering, Jimmy Carter said, "Throughout my life, I've seen the difference that volunteering efforts can make in people's lives. I know the personal value of service as a local volunteer."