Please join us at the Museum on Tuesday August 20, 2013, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for an Informational Docent Program Meeting. Learn more about the program and hear from current docent volunteers.
What is a docent?
Docents are volunteers who conduct tours for visitors of all ages and diverse backgrounds. Utilizing the techniques of dialogue and inquiry, docents encourage exploration of the exhibitions of the Museum. Each tour program is 1.5 - 3 hours long.
Who should apply?
Docents must be at least 18 years of age and have an interest in the Holocaust, genocide, human rights, and volunteerism. Applicants need to have strong public speaking ability and be able to articulate with enthusiasm and effectiveness to individuals, families, and school groups. Trainees must commit to and complete the six-day docent training program, as well as additional mentoring work with a certified Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center docent.
Please review the following criteria before applying for the Docent Training Program:
- Have access to the Internet and email
- Attend all classes and commit to the mentorship program outside of class
- Commit, upon docent certification, to be available to provide up to 1-2 tours a week. During the Museum’s peak season of February through June, docents must commit to be available to provide up to 2 to 3 tour a week. Docents are scheduled between 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. weekdays, some evenings for special events and tours, and between 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the weekends
- Docents must not relocate or travel extensively during the winter months
- Capable of physical activity, including standing and walking for long periods
- Enjoy working with children of all ages
- Able to work as a team, and be dependable and flexible
- Be creative and critical thinkers, able to plan and organize tours
- Extensive prior knowledge of the Holocaust or genocide is not required but a prospective docent should have a working knowledge of European, world, or Holocaust history as well as a desire to learn
- Bilingual docents are a welcomed addition
- Attend and actively participate in ongoing trainings, which focus on special exhibition content. The Museum's Docent Council offers optional enrichment workshops that are encouraged for docent growth.
How do I become a docent?
Docent trainees will attend a six-day intensive training seminar. Docents will learn how to conduct all tours offered by the Museum for both children (8 - 18 years old) and adults. Participants in the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center Docent Training program will be provided an introduction to the history of the Holocaust through the testimonies of eyewitnesses, scholars, educators, and Museum staff. Through discussion, exploration of exhibitions, connections to proper technique, and method, trainees will receive a solid background and framework in providing & constructing tours. Additional handouts, articles, and readings will be required to be completed outside of class.
Each trainee will be assigned a docent mentor from the start of the program. Mentors are current docents who have volunteered to help advise trainees and guide him or her through the learning process. Mentors will spend extra time with trainees outside of class for exhibition walk-throughs and practicing tours. When the mentor docent feels the trainee is ready, they will asses a tour presentation. Only upon the Museum's approval is a trainee qualified to begin conduction tours and considered a certified docent.
What is the cost to apply?
There is a one-time fee of $200 to cover the cost of training materials, and meals. Docents need to purchase their own copy of the Museum's Exhibition narrative Memory and Legacy ($25.00 - 10% for IHMEC members). All certified docents must maintain a valid Museum membership.
As a certified docent, the Museum offers:
- The opportunity to learn about and investigate the history of the Holocaust, genocide, human rights issues, and character education
- The ability to gain skills in working with people of all ages and interests
- The opportunity to work with others as part of a motivated and dedicated team
- Volunteer appreciation events
- Special programs, and ongoing training
- The opportunity to meet other amazing individuals who give so much of themselves
- The chance to make a difference!
How do I apply?
Please download and send a completed application to the below address. Completed applications may also be faxed to 847-967-4804.
Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center
Attn: 2013 Docent Training Program
9603 Woods Drive
Skokie, IL 60077
Applicants will be interviewed by a small group of Museum docents and education staff. Before the interview, all applicants must take a self-guided tour of IHMEC's exhibitions.
- Tuesday, August 20, 2013, 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. - Informational Docent Program Meeting
- Monday, September 30, 2013 - Final deadline for applications
- Early October 2013 - Prospective Docent interviews
- Mid October 2013 - Acceptance letters mailed
- October 24, 25, 29, 30, November 5,6 - Docent Training Program starts. All classes will take place from 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center.
- November - December - Ongoing mentoring, including walk-throughs, practice tours, and assessments.
- Late December / Early January - Final assessments complete.