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Docent giving a tour to a group of children.

Now Accepting Applications

The Portland Art Museum is looking for new volunteers to join the Museum’s Docent Council. The Docent Council is a group of dedicated volunteers who facilitate creative and engaging experiences in the Museum’s galleries for K-12 students, families, and visitors of all ages. Docents engage in creative, dynamic conversations with learners of all ages, and help make art come alive for our Museum visitors. They are also a vital part of building connections between the Museum and our local community.

Ideal candidates are enthusiastic, flexible, creative, collaborative, and have a strong interest in facilitating inclusive, dialogue-based learning with museum visitors. People of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Art history knowledge or teaching experience is not required. If you have language skills, especially Spanish and ASL, we encourage you to join us!

Details about training and time commitment:

  1. Individuals selected to join this new class of volunteer docents will meet regularly on Mondays from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., beginning in September 2019 and continuing through May 2020. During Monday training sessions, new docents will learn about and practice teaching techniques and ways to engage visitors. Docents become familiar with art across the Museum’s collection and a diverse range of special exhibitions. Trainings are led by museum staff, docents, curators, artists, and selected guest speakers. During spring 2020, new docents will collaboratively plan and begin leading their first tours in the museum’s galleries.
  2. After completing their training, new docents will be expected to be available to facilitate K-12 and college school tours during the mornings Tuesday-Friday from September through mid-June. Additional public and group tours are offered throughout the week and on weekends. Docents are also expected to continue attending Monday morning training sessions, 9:30-11:30 a.m., from September through mid-June, and facilitate tours for multiple years after their initial training ends.

Applications need to be submitted online no later than July 22, 2019.

Online Application

Accommodations are available to anyone during the application and interview process. To request accommodations, alternative formats of this application, or to contact us regarding issues with the online application process, please email Amy Gray at

Docent Council Membership

Level Annual Fee
Active (individual) $50

Docent Council FAQs

What is the Docent Council?
In partnership with the Museum’s Learning and Community Partnership department, the Docent Council is a dedicated group of volunteers who provide educational tours and other arts experiences on behalf of the Portland Art Museum.

How many docents are there, and what do they do?
Currently, there are more than 175 docents in the Docent Council at the Portland Art Museum, including docents-in-training, active docents, sustainer docents, and education affiliate docents. Docents lead tours in the Museum’s collections and special exhibitions for K-12 and college students as well as families and visitors of all ages. The Mission of the Docent Council is to:

  • Deliver high quality art experiences to people of all ages
  • Create a welcoming environment for learning about art
  • Educate fellow docents in museum learning, art and art history, and touring strategies

The time commitment required for the Docent Council does not work for me right now. Is there any way I can still be involved with the Museum?
There are many types of volunteer opportunities at the Portland Art Museum. In addition to the Docent Council, there are several other Art Councils that welcome your involvement, especially if you have interest in a particular area of art.

For other volunteer positions (i.e. Guest Services, Rental Sales Gallery, etc.) please visit the Museum’s volunteer page.