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I have recently developed a teen docent program at The Jewish Museum San
Francisco for our upcoming exhibit "Russia in Black and White: The
Photojournalism of Yevgeny Khaldei." I created this program in response to a
Brandeis Institute study that documented an urgent need for programming
designed specifially for Russian emigre teens. The study found that
American-born and Russian emigre Jews needed opportunities to work together
in situations where the Russian teens could share their experiences and
knowlege of their culture. The theory is that by placing the Russian teens
in the role of "teacher" they become empowered, more self confident, and
eager to share their experiences with fellow docents and the visiting public.
I am truly excited about this program and anxiously await the exhibition's
opening on February 24th.
As this is my first experience training teens, I am calling on all of you for
any advise or suggestions you may have. I have written a comprehensive
docent training guide, and will conduct three 2-hour training sessions prior
to the exhibition's opening. (My budget dictated the number of training
sessions because the docents are being paid $5/hour plus $2 per day for bus
transportation.) Docent are also required to complete a walk-through with
me, and lead a practice tour for fellow docents.
I would appreciate any suggestions on what to include or exclude in the
training sessions, and any success stories you may like to share.
I look forward to hearing from you!
The Jewish Museum San Francisco
(415) 543-2090, ext. 212
I am the former curator of education of a small, regional art
museum. One of the most rewarding programs (atleast for me!) I developed
was a teenage group, The Art Explorers, who not only gave tours but
participated in many of the museum's activities. These programs ranged from
assisting during fund-raisers/galas to interpreting/installing
exhibits to participating and/or assisting in/with special workshops. I think
one of the things that makes a docent at any age successful and committed is
to empower them to feel a sense of pride and ownership in their services and
in the museum.
Kudos to you and your program; please keep me updated of its
Elizabeth B. Reese