What is a docent?

Docents are volunteers who conduct tours for visitors of all ages from diverse backgrounds. Using the techniques of dialogue and inquiry, docents encourage exploration of the exhibitions of the Museum. Each tour program is 1.5 – 3.5 hours long.

How do I become a docent?

Docent trainees will attend a 12-day intensive training seminar. Docent trainees will learn how to conduct all tours offered by the Museum for both students (8 – 18 years old) and adults. Participants in the Illinois Holocaust Museum Docent Training program will be provided with an introduction to the history of the Holocaust, and through discussion, exploration of exhibitions, connections to technique, and method, will receive a solid 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. Mentors are current docents who have volunteered to help advise trainees and guide them through the learning process. Mentors will spend extra time with trainees outside of class for exhibition walk-thrus and practicing tours. Both mentor and Museum staff will work together to certify each trainee as a docent for the Museum.

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 capable of standing and walking for long periods in order to provide tours  with enthusiasm and effectiveness to individuals, families, and student and adult groups.

Trainees must commit to and complete the twelve-day docent training program, as well as additional mentoring work with a certified Illinois Holocaust Museum docent.

Please review the following criteria before applying for the Docent Training Program: 

  • Willing to work with visitors of all ages
  • Attend all classes and commit to the mentorship program outside of class
  • Able to provide tours, upon certification, during weekday and morning hours. Limited evening and weekend tours are available
  • Docents must not relocate or travel extensively during the winter months
  • Have access to the internet and email
  • 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.

What is the cost to apply?

There is a one-time tuition fee of $200 to cover the cost of training materials and meals. If you are unable to pay tuition costs in full please contact us, we are happy to work with you. All certified docents must maintain a valid Museum membership.

How do I apply?

Please use the Online Docent Application <– click here and submit by Sunday, September 22, 2019.

~ or ~

Please download and send a completed application to the below address by Sunday, September 22, 2019. Completed applications may also be faxed to 847-967-4804.

 Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center
Attn: 2018 Docent Training Program/ Education Department
9603 Woods Drive
Skokie, IL 60077

Download the application here.

Upon receipt and review of application, candidates will be contacted for an interview with a member of the Museum’s Education staff. Before the interview, all applicants must take a self-guided tour of  ALL IHMEC exhibitions.

Important Dates

  • Sunday, September 22, 2019Final Deadline for Applications
  • August &  September, 2019 – Prospective Docent interviews
  • Early October, 2019 – Acceptance letters mailed
  • November 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2019  – Docent Training Program starts. All classes will take place from 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Illinois Holocaust Museum. (Note: On November 22, class will be from 9:30am – 12:00pm.)
  • December 2019- February 2020– Practical Training begins

 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!



Although the Museum is closed for now, we invite you to visit our Virtual Museum and connect with us online! We have a wide range of virtual programs and tours available.
Click here for more information

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