Tours de Force

Last year, the Evansville Museum of Art, History and Science led 427 unique museum tours across 200 field trips that reached 6,000 students, all of them led by the 35 volunteers of the Docent Association.

Docents at the Evansville Museum go through a six-month training process where they learn about every aspect of the museum and every type of tour, like art, science, early childhood education, EMTRAC and transportation, history, and others.

“I think all of us had an interest in education, history, arts, and sciences, or some of those aspects, but particularly education,” says Peg Ehlen, who has been a docent for six years and is a retired professor from Ivy Tech Community College. “I wanted to continue in a role as a teacher because I always enjoyed that.”

Ehlen says a unique aspect to the Docent Association is the diverse backgrounds volunteers bring, like healthcare, education, business, science, and other fields. Todd Kranpitz has been a docent for three years and says he wanted to find something after retirement.

“When I retired, I didn’t want my brain to rest,” he says. “I liked museums, and this was an opportunity to do interesting and different things.”

One of the biggest takeaways, however, for many docents is the friendships that are formed. Karen Malone, the Ruby C. Strickland curator of education, says people interested in becoming a docent shouldn’t worry about not having the right background. Docents are trained on the techniques and content. For people curious about the process, the museum will host an informational luncheon on Aug. 13 about the association.

“One of my main motivations for looking into becoming a docent was to meet people, and I’ve met the most wonderful, talented, interesting people,” says 15-year docent Cheryl Marshall.

Lead The Way
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