Thursday, September 13, 2012

Upcoming training Sept 26 & other stuff

Hello, kind docents:


And welcome to a new year of tours! Thank you to the small but very helpful group who attended the training on September 5, my first day back in my new role. I was able to get some feedback on what you’d like to keep and what you might like to see changed as docent training moves forward. I’m including some notes here on the key things we discussed, but first I wanted to make sure you are aware of the following required training:


Required Training

Wednesday, September 26,

10:30 am-12:30 pm

Rock on Kenna
Curator Rock Hushka tells us about Memories and Meditations: A Retrospective of Michael Kenna’s Photography, opening on October 6. This will be a private training, not a public program.


I’ve also attached a draft checklist for the Michael Kenna exhibition.


And here is another excellent training opportunity, our fall Know More Art series, with talks from four of the prominent Northwest artists featured in Best of the Northwest:


Highly Recommended


September 20, 6 pm

Know More Art Lecture Series: Northwest Art, Northwest Influences featuring prominent Northwest artists discussing their work and their relationships with others in the exhibition Best of the Northwest: Selected Paintings from the Collection. Docents receive student rate of $5/lecture.
#1: Mark Takamichi Miller

Highly Recommended


September 27, 6 pm

Know More Art Lecture Series: NW Art, NW Influences
#2: Barbara Earl Thomas

Highly Recommended


October 4, 6 pm

Know More Art Lecture Series: NW Art, NW Influences
#3: Michael Brophy

Highly Recommended


October 11, 6 pm

Know More Art Lecture Series: NW Art, NW Influences
#4: Lucinda Parker


Here are some things we discussed at the Sept 5 training:


·         Trainings will continue to be 10:30 on Wednesday mornings, but it was suggested that they be on regular days each month so as to make it easier to remember. So after this first month, I will try as much as possible to have trainings fall on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. (This may sometimes need to change for special guests, holidays etc.) That means you can save the dates of Oct 10 and 24, Nov 14 and 28, at 10:30 am, for upcoming trainings. I will have a complete updated fall training calendar for you soon.

·         I am going to work with Ryan to integrate our trainings for school tour educators and docents a bit more. Docent trainings have typically been heavy on exhibition content, while school tour trainings focus more on education philosophy and touring/interaction technique, but we all agree that both groups could use both of these types of knowledge! J

·         Regarding peer evaluations: It was pointed out that a) scheduling these is really tough; and b) they’re useful in theory, but in actuality you’re all just really nice to each other, so don’t wind up with honest feedback & critique. We also decided that the main reasoning and helpful thing behind doing these is mostly just getting to see other people lead tours. So instead of evaluations at the end of the year, what I’m going to require of you is more simple, and hopefully fun and interesting: During the course of each year, please plan to shadow/observe at least two other people give tours. You don’t have to take any notes or anything (it might be nice to plan to talk with your observee afterward, but not required), just keep me updated on who/when you observe, and I will keep track of them the same way I do training attendance.

·         Aside from the usual exhibition trainings, some others we’ll plan for this year include a Chihuly refresher (and possible field trip to Chihuly Garden & Glass), updates on construction plans etc for the plaza and Haub galleries, and at least one or two hands-on, more workshop-style trainings.

·         We’ve also at points tried to make sure you had hands-on materials you can pass around during tours—glass samples for Chihuly, e.g. I will plan to collect those in separate TAM bags for each exhibition, so that they are more easily carry-able. We’ll keep them up at the docent desk so you can grab them for your tours. (I’ll let you know as those become available.)

·         What happened to that notebook where you used to collect tour stories, you ask? Last year there seemed to be some agreement that it wasn’t super useful, so Jana had pulled it until we figured out a better system. Feedback we’ve received is that it’s hard to remember to go up to the docent desk after a tour, or you just don’t have the time to do that, and there’s an awful lot to page through up there when you do. What is hopefully easier is, if you’ve got a great (or terrible—but hopefully not terrible) story to share, please email me after your tour. Then those that are useful for the group to hear I can send out to all of you, those that are useful for our development team for grants I can send over to them, etc. I can also print out those emails and keep them in a binder at my desk, for those who still want the experience of paging through a notebook.

·         Sometimes it is hard to hear, especially in the larger galleries. Last year Jana and I started investigating portable speaker systems that you could use on your tours (and that curators and lecturers could use for our trainings). I will work on purchasing one of these sooner than later.


Thanks, as always, for all you do for Tacoma Art Museum!



Courtney Vowels | TACOMA ART MUSEUM

Public and Docent Programs Manager


T: 253.272.4258 x3030

1701 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, Washington 98402



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