Burchfield Penney Recruiting Volunteer Docents

Art Center seeks dedicated, life-long learners who want to tell meaningful stories

The Burchfield Penney Art Center at SUNY Buffalo is on the hunt for enthusiastic, committed volunteers to participate in its upcoming Docent Training Class.

Docents at the Burchfield Penney are museum volunteers trained as teaching guides. They bridge the viewer and the artwork, igniting conversation and curiosity. Our tour program uses an inquiry-based education model.  Tours of all kinds are conducted at the museum, including those for school groups, adults, seniors, and social organizations. More than 15,000 people join us annually for docent-led tours.

We are seeking community members who collectively reflect a wide range of perspectives and experiences. “Well-trained docent volunteers are one of our most valuable assets,” said Burchfield Penney interim director Scott Propeack. “Working closely with them, we’re gaining insights on how to advance our program to better prioritize equity and diversity to reflect the region we serve with training initiatives and ideas to help broaden our recruitment reach.

No formal training or experience is required to apply. Accepted applicants will be fully trained before conducting tours. “Our staff will share stories and details about the exhibited artwork to help the docent team enrich the tours that they develop and provide practice in touring strategies. Candidates should simply be enthusiastic, dedicated life-long learners who want to tell meaningful, engaging stories,” explains Education and Tours Manager, Mary Kozub.

The Center celebrates artwork connected to the culturally diverse communities of Buffalo and Western New York. To forge closer ties with the city we serve, we are seeking members of the community who together reflect this wide range of perspectives and experiences. To help us expand accessibility, we particularly encourage bilingual candidates to apply.

Docents-in-training must attend 15 two-and-a-half-hour sessions on Wednesdays. Upon

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completion, they are required to commit to the program for a full year, providing at least two tours monthly.  Docents are also encouraged to attend lectures and other educational programming presented by the Burchfield Penney and other area museums.

Prospective docents can apply by filling out an application and questionnaire. Applicants will then be asked to meet with staff and fellow docents to review the application.

Application deadline is Tuesday, February 2. If you’re interested in applying, here’s a link. Questions? Call Mary Kozub at 716-878-3156, or email kozubmm@buffalostate.edu.

ABOUT THE BURCHFIELD PENNEY ART CENTER

Established in 1966 on the campus of SUNY Buffalo State, the Burchfield Penney Art Center is dedicated to the art and vision of renowned American artist Charles E. Burchfield (1893–1967) and the art and artists of Buffalo and our region.