Docent Program

Volunteer docents are invaluable to the Honolulu Museum of Art. They play an important role in implementing the museum’s education mission by guiding groups of all ages on a variety of tours of the Honolulu Museum of Art's collections and exhibitions. Professionals from all walks of life—doctors, businesspeople, professors, teachers, and artists, to name a few—are Honolulu Museum of Art docents. Prior knowledge of art is not required—you just have to have a passion to help others enjoy art.

Join our next Docent-Training Course!

Foreign Language Docent Training Course 2014

Our fall docent-training program focuses on preparing new docents to lead foreign language tours. Applicants must be fluent in Japanese, Chinese or Korean and ​be able to discuss art and understand lectures in English. The course runs for ​six sessions in ​late October an November on Wednesday mornings, from 9 to 12 pm. Japanese or English art history textbooks are available for purchase. Those who successfully complete the course will join the group of energetic ​Chinese, Korean and Japanese-speaking docents who lead one-hour ​foreign language tours of the museum to assist our visitors. Call Betsy Forrest Robb, Curator of Education, at 532-6075 for more information. We are now taking applications for the summer course; please see the link below.

School Tour Docent Training Course 2015

The 2015 docent-training program focuses on student tours. Our docent corps now serves more than 21,000 schoolchildren, and we aim to increase that number over the next few years to expand our educational reach, especially students who do not have art programing in their schools. This special docent training course runs from February through May and the month of September. Classes are held Mondays from 9am to 3pm. Courses of study include gallery discussions providing a general overview of art history; an experiential approach to learning works of art used in student tours; specific tour demonstrations, and workshops on media/technique, learning styles, and teaching techniques. The Director of Tour and Docent Programs and experienced docents conduct the course.

Course topics: Discover Your Art Museum, Elements of Art, Art and Life in Early America, Let's Sketch, Asian Masterpieces, European and American Masterpieces, Symbols of Identity, Animals in Art, Literature through Art, Math through Art, Kamishibai: Japanese Storytelling, Pacific Voyages, Picturing Hawai‘i, World through Art, Tales from the Philippines, Art of the Ancient World, World Religions.

Class requirements: Docent trainees are required to complete extensive reading assignments, follow ongoing school tours, present mini-practice tours to fellow trainees, participate in the evaluation process, prepare written sample tours, and eventually lead school groups on their own. Membership in the Honolulu Museum of Art is optional, but highly recommended.

Tuition: Tuition is $175 plus the cost of textbooks (approximately $175).

Service: During the course, upon satisfactory completion of each practice tour, trainees will conduct tours on the themes they have studied to date. At the end of the course, docents will receive a diploma and agree to a minimum five-year service commitment, giving a weekly tour during the school year.

How to apply

We invite you to apply for the Honolulu Museum of Art Docent Council by completing the online application.
After we receive your application, we will call you to make an appointment for your interview. 
If you have questions, please call Betsy Forrest Robb, Curator of Education, at 532-6075.