Become a Docent

Become a Docent

Docents (volunteer guides) provide valuable service to the Museum and to the wider community by volunteering their time to give tours to adults, families and school groups. They engage, educate and inspire visitors from around the world as they share their knowledge of 35 centuries of glass art, history and science.


Museum docents are entitled to many benefits. They receive free training materials and books, lectures by curators and glass experts, use of the Rakow Research Library, and opportunities to meet some of the leaders in contemporary glass art. After completing their training, docents receive complimentary Museum membership, invitations to Member events, admission to conferences and seminars, and discounts in the Museum Shops and onsite restaurants. Additionally, docents reap many intangible rewards through their experiences with guests.


There are no prerequisites to docent training. All that is needed is a passion for learning and sharing your knowledge with others, as well as a serious commitment to the program.

The training program includes having an individual mentor and consists of four segments: In-Depth Training, Independent Study, Shadowing, and Enrichment.

  • In-Depth Training: A mandatory half-day weekly program begins in late September and continues approximately 5 months. It provides in-depth training in the art, history and science of glass as exhibited in our Museum. Training also includes a variety of touring techniques.
  • Independent Study: Docents should spend additional time on their own studying the galleries and texts provided. They should also use additional resources, such as the website, the docent lending library, and the Rakow Research Library.
  • Shadowing: Docents-in-training follow experienced docents during tours to observe guiding techniques.
  • Enrichment: Required monthly meetings (excluding June – August) feature programs that further enhance the docent’s knowledge of glass. Curators provide additional training for temporary exhibitions. Occasional live demonstrations, field trips and special events augment the docent program.

Time Commitment

After completing their training, docents are scheduled for tours according to their availability and our specific tour needs. We encourage 40 hours per year, but the amount of time a docent contributes to the Museum is flexible. Docents are also expected to attend monthly meetings and training for special exhibitions and to continue independent study.

How do I become a docent?

Our next docent class begins in September 2018. Applications will be available closer to that time.

For further information regarding the docent program, please contact Cindy Price at +1 (607) 438-5113 or