Kimbell Docent Program 

Volunteer docents serve an essential role at the Kimbell by providing enjoyable learning experiences for visitors of all ages and abilities through guided tours focusing on the permanent collection, special exhibitions, and architecture on the Kimbell campus. 

Staff-led docent trainings emphasize approaches for creating a welcoming and inclusive environment, practicing a wide range of engagement strategies designed for different ages and learning styles, and cultivating a deeper understanding of art and cultures from around the world through close looking and thorough preparation.

Is the Docent Program for me?

The Kimbell education department strives to:

  • Create an inclusive environment that welcomes visitors of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities.
  • Model safe and respectful engagement with artworks and other visitors in the galleries.
  • Facilitate object-based group inquiry and dialogue that encourages multiple perspectives.
  • Foster appreciation for the arts and lifelong learning.
  • Inspire curiosity, imagination, and personal creativity.
  • Support connections within and across our diverse community.


Docents tend to be people who:

  • Love learning about art, ideas, and cultures from around the world.
  • Want to help serve the greater community through arts-based engagement.
  • Have strong interpersonal skills and enjoy conversing with people of all ages.
  • Maintain a positive, open-minded outlook. 
  • Value collaboration and flexibility, as well as constructive feedback. 
  • Feel comfortable using computers for email and accessing online content.
  • Have time to dedicate to an intensive year-long training, followed by at least two years of active service.


Additional notes:

  • No prior studio or art-historical training are required to participate.
  • Trainings emphasize interactive models for engaging different types of visitors, including students; all art-historical content is presented to support tour facilitation.
  • Tour audiences are approximately 70% children and 30% adults.
  • Individuals must be at least 18 years of age to apply; all volunteers must complete a background check.

New Docent Training Course

 Different training phases

  • Three-month provisional training: this trial period provides an in-depth introduction to the docent program, concluding with a staff recommendation for next steps.
  • Nine-month course: individuals continuing in the program will shadow at least four school tours, as arranged by the education department. During the final two months, docents-in-training are invited to start leading Fifth Grade Art Tours.
  • Two-year commitment: upon successful completion of the training program, new docents will join active service for a minimum of two years. 


Training sessions occur twice per week, with breaks between units of study.

  • Mondays: art-historical presentations focusing on the Kimbell’s permanent collection.
  • Wednesdays: tour techniques, including strategies for audience engagement and several rounds of practice tours designed for different audiences.
  • Lectures and public programs: attendance is highly recommended as an addition to new docent trainings.


Weekly readings and assignments

  • Weekly reading worksheets for 10–40 pages of assigned reading.
  • Written outlines and regular practice tours; the final assignment is a full-length, 50-minute tour for education staff. 
  • Feedback and reflection: education staff provide constructive comments for all assignments and practice tours. Docents-in-training will complete informal, short online surveys to reflect on their practice tour experiences.


Participation expectations

  • Communicate with the Head of Education regarding absences. 
  • Docents-in-training who miss more than five classes must reapply to the program. Audio recordings of class sessions are available.
  • Individuals who miss a class are responsible for collecting handouts and notes from fellow docents-in-training.

Active Service Commitment

Upon completing the docent training class, docents enter active service, which entails:

  • Understand and follow the Kimbell’s policies outlined in the Docent Handbook, as well as Kimbell Visitor Guidelines.
  • Regularly attend docent trainings, meetings, films, and public education events to earn a minimum of 30 education hours per year (September–August). The training calendar is updated biannually.
  • Regularly sign up for and guide tours to earn a minimum of 25 tour hours per year (September–August).
  • Tours occur on weekdays (mornings and afternoons), as well as on weekends; there are occasional evening tours outside of regular museum hours.
  • Represent and promote awareness of the Kimbell in the community and beyond.
  • Understand that regular self-reflection/review is an essential practice that helps to hone skills and deepen knowledge; it also helps staff and docents to measure success in conjunction with the education department’s Guiding Principles and Best Practices for Tour Facilitation.

Important Dates

2024–2025 Docent Training Program

February 15–March 31, 2024Online applications open
April 2024Group information sessions 
May 1, 2024All candidates will be notified
August 12, 20242024–2025 docent training begins


2025–2026 Docent Training Program

March 15–May 1, 2025Online applications open
May 2025Group information sessions 
June 1, 2025All candidates will be notified
October 1, 20252025–2026 docent training begins

The Docent Handbook and Training Calendar will be provided during the Group Information sessions.

Docent Application

Online applications for the 2024–2025 Docent Training Program have closed.


Please email [email protected].