The museum offers a variety of volunteer opportunities. Among our most dedicated corps of volunteers are the Exhibition Interpreters (“EIs”), or docents. EIs lead museum tours for visitors of all ages.

The Exhibition Interpreter program upholds and furthers the mission of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art by:

* Welcoming and creating a positive, engaging museum experience for our visitors
* Interacting with visitors in a respectful and responsive way
* Empowering visitors to discover the world around them through art and culture
* Creating an environment that enables visitors to make personal connections with art
* Communicating ideas about art that are responsive to diverse learning styles, abilities, and backgrounds of our visitors

The museum’s philosophy for providing tours is to focus on inquiry-based discussions and dialogue with our visitors. We are one of many museums across the country trained to provide tours integrating Visual Thinking Strategies.

Exhibition Interpreters participate in several activities, including leading tours, visiting schools, and conducting research. They help to empower visitors to discover the world around them through culture.

Apply to become an Exhibition Interpreter today!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is an Exhibition Interpreter?

An Exhibition Interpreter is a teacher who engages visitors of all ages and backgrounds in an active exploration of artworks from a wide range of cultures and time periods. Exhibition Interpreters are also known as docents. The word “docent” is derived from the Latin word docere meaning “to teach” or “to lead.

What do Exhibition Interpreters do?

As representatives of the museum to the public, Exhibition Interpreters are a valuable and integral part of the museum team. Exhibition Interpreters contribute to the Museum of Art in several ways.

Tours:
Exhibition Interpreters facilitate conversations about art, culture, and various issues with children and adults visiting the art museum.

Visits:
Exhibition Interpreters provide visits to schools before a tour at the museum in order to prepare students for what they will see in the galleries.

Research:
Exhibition Interpreters prepare background information on museum exhibitions and acquisitions for training fellow interpreters to provide tours.

Becoming an Exhibition Interpreter can be a truly rewarding experience. Exhibition Interpreters enjoy the opportunity to intellectually challenge themselves in an atmosphere that values human creativity and spirit. The thrill of learning the collection and tour techniques is combined with the joy that comes when a visitor is enlightened by their museum experience.

Are there any requirements?

All that is needed is a love for sharing art with visitors and a commitment to our program and educational mission. Guides come to the program with diverse backgrounds and only a few have a degree in art or art history.

What does the program training involve?

The year-long training program involves training in museum education, the elements of art, art history, and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art’s collection. Trainees develop public speaking and inquiry-based discussion skills, attend workshops on learning styles and visual thinking strategies, and learn our tour presentations.

In addition to regularly scheduled training sessions, additional hours are required each week for research, reading assignments, preparation of writing and speaking assignments, and observation of other guides as they tour the museum and speak in the community. Exhibition Interpreters also attend continuing education lectures.

Is the museum currently accepting applications for new Exhibition Interpreters?

Yes, we are accepting applications for a new training class!  Please complete our Exhibition Interpreter application. For more information, contact Sherri Jones, jsmatour@uoregon.edu or (541) 346-0910.