yam docents

Some of you are probably wondering, what is a docent? Well, the word docent has its root in the Latin, “docents,” meaning to teach.

The YAM has an outstanding corps of specially trained and deeply committed volunteers. Docents lead tours, assist in the art studio, bring the Art Suitcase to Billings schools, help with the Young Artists’ Gallery, and develop new programs. These volunteers are integral to education at the YAM. Our docents are part of the National Docent Symposium Council, which meets every other year. YAM docents focus on inquiry-based learning about art through Visual Thinking Strategies. Docents meet every Monday (except for holidays) from 10 AM – 12 PM during the school year.

To inquire about becoming a docent, contact:
Carrie, YAM Education Director
406.256.6804 x231

To Be (or Not To Be) a Docent

Museum docent is a title given to a person who serves as a guide and educator for the institutions they serve. The word docent is derived from the Latin word docēns, the present active participle of docēre (to teach, to lecture).

YAM docents are at the heart of our educational programming. They support and lead engagement and education in a variety of ways and serve as ambassadors for the museum. Docents work closely with the YAM Education Team both at the museum and with outreach programming.

YAM Docent Responsibilities

  • Commit to volunteer hour
  • Attend docent meetings every week during the school year – September through May
  • Assist the Education Department in almost every aspect of art education throughout the Museum (based on your strengths and interests)

Docent Opportunities

YAM Tours
We serve approximately 9,000 children a year through docent lead tours of current exhibitions at the YAM for various ages, from preschool to college/adults.

Artmaking in the Education Studio
Most tours include a connected art lesson using curriculum that is developmentally appropriate and based on current exhibitions. Docents assist the Museum Art Educator in studio setup and cleanup, interacting with children, and helping the activity flow.

Art Suitcase Program — Billings Public Schools 4th & 5th Grade
We serve approximately 3,500 children through established Art Suitcase programming that takes place in classrooms. Docents present the Art Suitcase Program and engage students in close observation and critical discussion of the artwork. This requires traveling to schools for a one-hour long presentation per classroom throughout the school year.

On Site Classes Studio 2nd Saturday, FAM at the YAM, Summer Art Studio, & YAM Camp
Specially designed art education classes that are open to the public, which include an art making activity connected with current exhibitions. Docents support this programming by engaging children and families in a variety of ways, including touring the Museum and assisting in the studio.

Young Artists’ Gallery (YAG)
This gallery is dedicated to showcasing the work of young artists in our educational partnership programs. Students range from preschool through high school. The Education Team installs 8-10 exhibitions in the YAG every year. Docents assist in installing and de-installing exhibitions.

Opportunities for collaborative and individual research involving current exhibitions and art influences. Docents assist with this research for special projects.

Other Opportunities
As the YAM continues to change and grow to meet the needs of the community, docents are asked if they are interested in participating in committees and projects as they arise.