Love Art? Teach and Learn as a Volunteer Tour Guide

Tacoma Art Museum is accepting applications for outgoing, art-loving volunteers to train as tour guides (docents). Share your passion for arts education with students and adults in this interesting, vital role. Join Us Today!

“To have had a small part in Tacoma Art Museum’s exciting story has been my pleasure. I have been at home in TAM’s exciting architecture, benefited from the teaching and insight of its curators, director, staff and volunteers, enjoyed an astounding variety of collections and exhibits, and best of all, made connections with many museum visitors through art. Thanks, TAM, for bringing people together through art.”─ Margaret Upshaw, Docent and TAM’s 2016 Volunteer of the Year

What does a docent do?

  • Docents lead conversation-based tours and inspire creative thinking.
  • Docents empower visitors to consider their own lived experiences and draw personal meaning from original works of art.
  • Docents meet the diverse needs and interests of our community, and have a profound impact on the museum experience.
  • Docents learn about and see amazing works of art, meet artists, curators, and other experts!
  • Many of TAM’s docents lead hands-on art-making lessons for students in K-12 school groups, too!

We are currently seeking applicants particularly interested in working with youth audiences in the galleries and in TAM’s classrooms for related studio art lessons. Regarding schedules, please note that the majority of Guided School Tours and accompanying art-making lessons occur Tuesday through Friday, 10 am – 2 pm.

“I really enjoy having conversations with kids who may not have had an opportunity to come to the museum if it wasn’t for this program. Children are so open to talking about art. It is great to see.” ─ Mona Hahn, Docent


TAM seeks tour guides who are:

  • Comfortable speaking in front of groups
  • Enthusiastic about working with youth
  • Interested in teaching studio art activities (hands-on art making)
  • Eager to dedicate time to tours, research, and training related to exhibitions and in-gallery activities
  • Willing to contribute at least two years to the program
  • Available to attend trainings held on Wednesday afternoons, approximately two times per month, and lead tours during museum hours, most often Tuesday through Saturday between 10 am and 2 pm

Along with the satisfaction of inspiring visitors, learning is a big perk for docents…

“After a very long time in the docent program, I still find it exciting and stimulating to add to my art history education and share our exhibitions with visitors. You are continually learning and supplementing your knowledge as a docent.” –Sue Stibble. Sue has been leading tours at TAM for four decades.

“I learn and see something new each time I go to TAM, not only from the training, but also from our visitors, each of whom has a unique perspective on the art they are experiencing.” – Judi Keyser, pointing out that learning goes both ways.

Museum educators, curators, and scholars help docents learn methods for engaging visitors in robust conversation, close-looking, and creativity. New docents will begin a yearlong training course in early 2017. Docents participate in ongoing trainings related to exhibitions and best practices in arts education.


Please submit a volunteer application noting your interest in the Docent Program. Tacoma Art Museum strongly encourages applications from members of groups underrepresented in careers related to museums and the visual arts.

The application deadline is Thursday, December 15, 2016.

Join Us Today!

Questions? Email Ashley Hosler, Educator for Adult Learning