Volunteer Opportunities

Join Kemper Museum’s volunteer program and contribute to our mission of providing a free and welcoming environment that enriches lives through the experience of contemporary art.


KEMPER MUSEUM DOCENT PROGRAM

We are grateful for the highly motivated volunteers who serve as docents! The Kemper Museum Docent Program is supported by the Family of Mary Beth Smith.

Kemper Museum docents encourage visitors to engage with contemporary art and ideas, creating a sense of belonging for people from all backgrounds.

Kemper Museum docents are

  • curious: The museum's exhibitions and visitors continually change! Our docents love to learn new things and meet new people.
  • flexible: Contemporary artworks explore, question, and invent: our tours and public programs do the same. In order to be innovative, we take risks, keep a sense of humor, and appreciate the unknown.
  • collaborative: Working collaboratively is a key part of a docent’s role. Docents listen with interest, accept diverse views and share their thoughts freely and respectfully.
  • inclusive: Docents contribute to an environment that welcomes and includes people of all backgrounds, consistent with the museum’s commitment to accessibility and inclusion.

No art experience is required to become a volunteer, just genuine interest in contemporary art and ideas, enthusiasm for making connections with others, and willingness to learn! Training is offered for all roles.

Questions? Contact tours@kemperart.org.

Docent Schedule and Calendar

We offer trainings and monthly docent meetings at lunchtime hours, evenings and weekends. Active months in the docent program are September through November and January through June, with fewer activities during July, August and December. The monthly time commitments listed below pertain to our nine, active months; however, volunteers enjoy public engagement and learning opportunities year-round. You will find upcoming training dates for each volunteer role listed beneath its description.

Volunteer Roles

MUSEUM ENGAGEMENT VOLUNTEER
Museum engagement volunteers greet the general public at the museum and create a sense of belonging for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Responsibilities

  • welcoming visitors
  • sharing information on select artworks
  • providing information about the museum's history, facilities and offerings

Time Commitment: 2 hrs. training + approx. 5 hrs./month

  • Training Initial two-hour training covers Kemper Museum history and culture, as well as works on permanent display.
  • Engagement Two onsite, two-hour shifts each month during popular visiting hours
  • Preparation Monthly docent meetings. Attend at least three each year.
  • Preparation Meet for an hour with staff for two or three annual prep sessions covering upcoming exhibitions.
  • Optional Enrichment You are encouraged but not required to attend monthly docent study groups; to attend public programs led by artists and curators; and to join in docent prep sessions with guest presenters or the museum educator.

The next training for Museum Engagement Volunteers will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 1, 2022.

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YOUNG VISITORS GUIDE

Young visitors guides are specialized volunteers who participate in the museum's child-centered approach to engaging kids and families.

Responsibilities

  • staying up-to-date on museum exhibitions and innovative engagement strategies.
  • leading tours and engagement activities for people age 12 and younger (opportunities available in the museum, online, and at classrooms and community centers).

Time Commitment: 8 hrs. training + approx. 7 hrs./month

  • Training. Initial eight-hour training over three days covers the museum's history, mission, and Permanent Collection, as well as movements and themes in contemporary art history.
  • Engagement. Lead an average of four to five one-hour school tours per month (scheduled September–May; Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10:30–11:30 a.m.) OR five hours of evening and weekend child-centered programs per month.
  • Preparation. Monthly docent meetings. Attend at least five meetings each year and review the summaries of missed meetings.
  • Preparation. Lead or co-lead at least one docent study group per year.  One or more study groups are held each month at the museum, nine months of the year.
  • Preparation. Occasional young visitors prep sessions with the museum educator or a special presenter, covering upcoming exhibitions and engagement strategies for children.
  • Optional Enrichment. While not required, you will be encouraged to attend or watch recordings of public programs led by artists and curators.

The next 8-hour training for Young Visitors Guides will be held in three sessions: Session #1 at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 1st; Session #2 at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 6th; Session #3 at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 13th.

The following alternate dates are also available: Session #1 at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26th; Session #2 at 4 p.m. on October 27th and Session #3 at 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 29th.

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TEEN AND ADULT GUIDE

Teen and adult guides are volunteers who lead tours and engagement activities for middle, high school and university groups, community organizations, professionals, arts tourists, and the general public.

Responsibilities

  • Developing an in-depth and evolving knowledge of Kemper Museum exhibitions, Permanent Collection, and engagement strategies as well as an understanding of contemporary art history and theory.
  • Leading tours and engagement activities for people age 13 and older.

Time Commitment (20 hrs. training + approx. 9 hrs./month)

  • Training. Initial eight-week (two to three hours per weekly session) workshop with videos, readings, gallery time and practice of engagement technique. Training covers current issues in public engagement, the museum's history, mission, and Permanent Collection, as well as contemporary art history and theory.
  • Engagement. Lead an average of four to five one-hour tours per month; lead tours at major museum events. 
  • Preparation. Monthly docent meetings. Attend at least five meetings each year and review the summaries of missed meetings.
  • Preparation. Docent study groups. Attend three or more per year. Lead or co-lead at least two per year. One or more study groups are held each month at the museum, nine months of the year.
  • Preparation. Once or twice per year, attend special prep sessions with guest presenters or the museum educator.
  • Preparation. Attend or watch recordings of three or more annual public programs led by artists and curators.

The next 8-week training for teen and adult guides is planned to begin in February 2023, and will take place on alternate Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings.

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Volunteering for More Than One Docent Role

Volunteering for More than One Role

Volunteers are welcome to apply for more than one of the engagement roles listed above. Performing two Kemper Museum volunteer roles will lead to an increase in your overall time commitment. If you are accepted and trained for two roles, some of your Preparation commitments (such as docent meetings) will overlap. Engagement time commitments (such as tours) will remain separate for each role.

Enriching Activities for All Volunteers

In addition to the training and volunteer shifts, Kemper Museum Docent Program offers opportunities for all volunteers to build community and learn about art! These may include book clubs, arts-related outings, special speakers, and social events organized for and/or by museum volunteers.