Become An Oakland Museum Docent

If you are a California history or art lover, then here’s a really neat opportunity:  volunteer to become an Oakland Museum docent.  You need to apply, get trained for a year, and then be available to teach kids and other museum visitors.  With this level of commitment, it’s not for everyone – but maybe for you?

The Oakland Museum has terrific permanent galleries covering history, art and the natural world.  These exhibits are closed while the museum undergoes modernization, and are slated to re-open in 2010.  Yet museum staff is already preparing to train docents, and get ready for next year.

Oakland Museum Of California

Interested?  Decide whether history or art turns you on. The history gallery contains over a million holdings “from the pre-Spanish Indian era to the late 20th century,”  while the art gallery includes “more than 70,100 works by California artists from the late 18th century to the present.”  Not an easy choice.

Then commit to docent training and more training. The application deadlines are February 1st for history or April 15 for art. There’s a $150 fee for training, and scholarships are available.  If accepted, you need to commit to these training schedules:

  • History Docents – Attend classes starting February 17th and each Tuesday afternoon through January 2010 (with summer break), and also take an external college course on local history.
  • Art Docents – Attend two orientation meetings this May, followed by weekly classes from mid-September through March 2010.

Since the docent programs have so many prerequisites, museum staff will hold an open house for interested volunteers Sunday at 1pm.  Otherwise, please contact or call 510-238-3514 for more guidance.

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