Become a Docent

Share Your Passion for Art


The Docent Program is an important part of Carnegie Museum of Art’s Education Department. Our mission is to engage and inspire visitors of all ages with works of art in the permanent collection and special exhibitions.

The word docent comes from the Latin docere, “to lead.” Docents are volunteers who share their love of art by initiating dialog and creating connections for visitors in an informal learning environment. Successful candidates demonstrate the ability to serve as a knowledgeable and skilled facilitator, not necessarily as an expert. Essential traits include critical thinking, flexibility, and the ability to work as part of a team.


Read more about our wonderful volunteer docent program in the Post-Gazette article, Dedicated Docents Donate Time, Talent to Enlighten Museum Visitors. 


Steps to become a docent

The next Provisional Docent Program will begin in fall 2015. Email Hattie Lehman to learn more or to receive program updates. 


1. Complete Carnegie Museum of Art’s course Art through the Ages: An Art History Survey.

→ Previous experience with the visual arts is helpful, but not required. This course provides an art historical foundation, with a focus on our collection.


2. After completing the course, apply to the Provisional Docent Program.

→ Complete a questionnaire and short writing assignment for staff to review.
→ Complete the Provisional Docent application

3. Complete all Provisional Docent Program requirements.

→ Attend formal trainings with all docents on Tuesday mornings, plus additional trainings specifically for Provisionals as needed.
→ Complete an independent study project, assignments, and practice leading conversations with fellow docents and staff.

4. Conduct a practice tour with CMOA staff.

→ Activation will occur selectively as determined by the Education Department.
→ The date of this tour and activation will vary.

Docent requirements

Docents must be available for:  

→ Tuesday morning training from September through June.
→ At least one other weekday to lead tours.
→ A commitment of at least two years to the program. 

Docents need to: 

→ Lead tours for a variety of visitors, including K-12 students, adults, college students, senior citizens, and special needs audiences.
→ Be self-directed to prepare for tour content and methods.
→ Pass a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania background check.