Volunteer Docent Information

What is a Volunteer Docent?

A docent is someone who serves as a guide and educator in a museum. Docents are enthusiastic, creative, and enjoy sharing their knowledge and excitement about Detroit history with the public. They present engaging and interactive tours of the museums and serve as an interpretation guide for visitors. 

Detroit Historical Society Volunteer Docents

Docents at the Detroit Historical Society teach all of our adult and student groups. They offer tours of museum exhibitions at both the Detroit Historical Museum in Midtown and the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle. Docents are the vital circuitry that connects the ideas hatched backstage to real, interpersonal experiences on the museum floor. 

Many of our docents have a background in education and American history, but those who do not tend to have a love for the City of Detroit and its history. Whether an enthusiast or an expert, all new docents receive training on the Society's artifacts, galleries, and research areas, as well as on techniques for conducting effective tours. Docent candidates must complete four shadowed tours, work one-on-one with the Manager of School Programs on exhibition content, and read our comprehensive exhibition interpretation manuals. Training of new docents takes about 4-6 weeks, depending on the docent's availability. Docents are also asked to maintain a commitment of 8 hours of time per month, at a minimum. 

Docents continue their education throughout their service by attending docent meetings, participating in study groups, attending gallery talks, and taking trips with fellow docents to regional museums and tours. 

For more information on docent opportunities, contact Bree Boettner, Manager of School Programs, at 313-833-1419 or breeb@detroithistorical.org. If you are interested in becoming a docent, please complete the application form below and we will be in touch with you within 48 hours. 


Volunteer Docent Application enrollment is open until November 30th, 2018.

Volunteer Docent Application

Upon acceptance into the Society's docent program, you must agree to fulfill all training requirements and to remain in the program for a minimum of one year upon completion of training. 

ex. 12345
ex. 555.555.1234
Society docents lead 1.5 hour tours Tuesday through Friday and some weekends, with pre-scheduled training sessions on Thursdays. Please indicate your site and program preferences. Check all that apply.
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Additional Information

*A yes response does not automatically disqualify a volunteer applicant from further consideration. Each application is evaluated individually, based on a number of factors including the nature of the crime, how long ago the crime and/or release from incarceration occurred, whether a sufficient or satisfactory work record has been established since the crime and/or release from incarceration, and the position applied for. 

Background Check

False statements in this application may result in an inability to provide volunteer placement, or revocation of an offer of placement once falsity of a statement becomes known.