Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas


Docent Program 40th Anniversary Celebration
  • Docent Program 40th Anniversary Celebration
  • Reception
  • 12/3/2009
  • 10:00-11:30
  • Spencer Museum of Art
  • Host: Spencer Museum of Art
Event Description
Docent Program celebrates 40th anniversary
In December, the Museum celebrated the 40th anniversary of its docent
program, which traces its foundation to 1966, when R. Wayne Nelson,
the Director of Music Education for the Lawrence Public Schools,
contacted the Lawrence Art Guild and proposed a program to teach
local schoolchildren about various fine arts.
Three years later, in the spring of 1969, docents at the KU Museum of
Art gave the first classroom slide talk and Museum tour. That fall, a
full schedule of fifth-grade classes heard the slide talk and visited the
Museum. The first-year roster of 14 docents included Barbara Buck,
who still serves as a docent today.
Throughout the years, the program has expanded in many different
ways. The KU Museum’s move and subsequent name-change to the
Spencer Museum of Art in 1978 meant larger exhibition space and
greater demand for tours and for docents. In an expansion of their
original mission, docents now provide tour experiences for a variety of
visitor groups. In addition, various curators of education and Museum
directors have enriched the program by contributing knowledge and
techniques such as inquiry-based methods for acquiring information.
The SMA Docent Program currently consists of 27 docents. In fiscal
year 2009, docents led a total of 282 tours consisting of 3,187 people
ranging in age from four to 94 years of age. The Spencer is grateful
for the volunteer service of all its current and former docents, whose
passion and dedication have helped cultivate the Museum’s strong
reputation as a welcoming place of art, inquiry, and community.