Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A New Adventure

Lately I've been longing to learn something new.  The nerd in me wants to research, study, master facts.   As wonderful as quilting is, it doesn't satisfy that part of me.

So I've embarked on a new adventure: I'm going to try to become a museum docent.  

I've seen wonderful exhibitions at the Katonah Museum of Art, a museum less than half an hour away from my home.  I've reviewed some of the exhibition here on my blog: the Lichenstein exhibition was part of my ponderings on creativity. I've gone on my own and I've gone as a school trip chaperone.  Regardless of how I've gotten to the museum, I've enjoyed it.

With all that in mind, I decided to place a call into the museum's education department to determine if they were taking on new docents and what might be involved.  My timing could not have been better; the museum was indeed interested in getting more docents and the training for the new exhibition would start in October.


And now I find myself all a-flutter.  I went to the Museum last week and spent three hours in a training session learning what it means to be a docent.  (That sounds like a long time, but it flew by in a snap!)  We learned what constitutes a good tour and what a good tour guide must do.  We learned what types of people attend museums (based on studies, there are five different types of museum visitors) and how we might ascertain who is part of our tour.  We touched on how we might amend our tours to suit the types of visitors we had.  We learned how we might tailor the tours we give to reflect our passions and interests.  We learned, we learned, we learned.

The Katonah Museum of Art is not a collecting museum, so docents have to learn about new exhibitions every three to four months.  The upcoming exhibition is a survey of 3000 years of portraiture.  After that, the Museum will be hosting an exhibition showing the artistic collaboration between Jasper Johns and John Lund.  Following that will be a show of contemporary Icelandic Art.

And I'm going to learn about it all....

I'm so excited.
Doesn't the building ooze art?  Edward Larrabee Barnes designed the museum and this picture is on the docent information packet. Among other things, Barnes designed the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama, and the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building in D.C., and co-designed the Citigroup Center in Manhattan.

P.S.  Do you take museum tours?  If so, what do you remember about a good tour you taken?  What made it special?  If you experienced a bad tour, what didn't work? I'd love to hear your experiences.


Norma Schlager said...

Congratulations! This sounds like it is right up your alley. I always enjoy docent tours. It seems like they have to know sooo much about the topic, because people ask all kinds of questions. The docents that make the best impression are me are the ones who are very knowable on the topic and also have some background info.
Good luck! I'm sure you'll be great.

Norma Schlager said...

Whoops! I meant "knowledgeable". Also, a little levity can be an asset.

Natalya Aikens said...

I am looking forward to my first tour with you!

Anonymous said...

I appreciate any knowledge of what is going on in the artist's life when the art was created. Was this piece the result of some major life event (birth, death, marriage, etc.) or was this created on just an ordinary day?


Vivien Zepf said...

Interesting perspective, Ging! I'll keep that in mind.