Sunday, April 29, 2012
There were a few weeks when, to be quite honest, I was not doing anything very exciting. Most of the time that I wasn't at the museum I was spending my internship writing my ideas or transcribing the interviews; transcribing took up more time than I had ever imagined. Through the process I was able to learn more about the docent's experience and compile their suggestions as well as work on my typing skills.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Sunday, April 8, 2012
The past few weeks have been filled with a lot of writing, I am working on putting my experience with the docent tours into a meaningful piece of writing. The title for my work has been giving me a bit of trouble but hopefully Dr. Johnson will have some suggestions for me. The writing has helped me process my time with the docents and realize that my views on museum education and museums in general have changed after getting a more intimate look at how they work. The docents themselves are a collection of diverse individuals who make public education their passion in retirement (generally), I feel that those who seek out the position of museum docent are highly motivated people who were committed to their various careers and in retirement they turn that commitment to their tours. While they are all extremely different and have different career backgrounds they all have common elements that make them successful docents. Prior to the project I had never taken a tour with a docent, I felt that I could gain all the information an exhibit had to offer on my own. Once I started taking tours I realized how much information the docents add on their own, mostly due to their own research and interest, and how valuable they are to museums. I will continue writing about and analyzing the docent experience and expect to end up with a well thought out piece to turn in to Dr. Johnson.
Monday, March 19, 2012
After a much needed spring break I have returned to work, Professor Johnson asked me to write about my experiences going on the tours with different docents and answering in detail some questions he had about the docents and their tours. I have started writing my observations and will continue to work on the piece over the next few weeks.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
This week I reviewed the report Prof. Johnson submitted to the museum concerning a survey we gave to the docents about their role at the museum and the profile it created about them as a group. Some of the things we found were that the docents were incredibly loyal to the museum and dedicated to their exhibits but occasionally wished they had a bigger say in the happenings at the museum and a better way to communicate with the education department. They view themselves as creative and feel they add a great deal to the exhibits. The information gathered through this survey will hopefully be used to bridge the gap between the docents and the education department as well as serve as a starting point for Prof. Johnson's book.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
This week was all about writing my impressions of the training and how the method of training shapes the way the docents interact with the public as well as how the exhibits educate. It seems to me that a good museum exhibit should be able to stand alone and be interesting and educational for the visitors but what I have seen while working with the docents is how incredibly vital they are to the educational experience. I must admit before this project I was one of those people who never went on tours and wanted to learn from the exhibit on my own but now I see how much I was missing out on by not utilizing the docents. Some docents like to facilitate, which is when they simply stand in the exhibit and make themselves available for questions, the best ones that I have observed find unobtrusive ways to share their knowledge, they more or less strike up a casual conversation that doesn't make the visitor feel as if they are listening to a rehearsed speech or that the docent is trying to reach some sort of "quota." The training I was able to observe helped me see how these docents learned to interact with visitors in this manner, I think the style of training the Field conducts is vital to the docent experience and I look forward to doing more writing about this and hopefully observing more trainings.