Call for Docents

We are excited to announce the relaunch of our docent program. Museum docents are ambassadors to the community and will play an important role in this new era of our institution. We are seeking enthusiastic, qualified individuals to engage K–12 audiences and the community as docents in our newly built museum. Qualifying applicants could be part of the first graduating class of docents in our new home.

Desired Qualifications:

The Stanley seeks qualified individuals who are excited to engage the community, teach, learn, and appreciate diverse viewpoints. Formal or informal experience teaching K–12 students is required. A background in studio art or art history is helpful, but not mandatory.


Prospective docents must attend bimonthly training sessions for a period of one year beginning August 2021 and ending August 2022. Trainings will consist of meetings and discussions with Stanley staff about art history, educational theory, world history, managing group tours, and speaking to public audiences. Trainees will also have opportunities to give practice tours and to workshop ideas with each other. Prospective docents who complete the one-year training program will then graduate to docent. Availability of in-person training will be based on recommendations by the Center for Disease Control and The University of Iowa. We are dedicated to ensuring the safety of in-person training and the safety of our guests at the Stanley Museum of Art.

Time Commitment:

We ask our new docents for a three-year commitment, including one year of training and two years as active docents. During the first year, prospective docents must attend all scheduled meetings and training sessions in order to graduate to docent. Once training has been completed, docents are expected to give an average of three tours per month, as well as attend the monthly docent meeting and supplemental training sessions.


Docents are a vital part of the visitor experience at the Stanley Museum of Art who give interactive tours to our diverse museum audience. Docents are also expected to attend all meetings and training sessions, and to continue to explore and familiarize themselves with the Stanley’s expansive collection. Additional volunteer opportunities at special events and committee meetings will also be available to docents. 


Becoming a docent connects you to your community, the museum, and the University of Iowa. Not only will you join a cohort of inspiring and community-engaged peers, but you will also receive training and behind-the-scenes information about the museum and its global collection of art. Docents will meet the museum staff and preview upcoming exhibitions with the curators. At the end of the training period, the museum will celebrate its new class of docents with a graduation ceremony at its annual docent lunch.


Application Process:

We will accept applications in two ways:

  1. Email a resume or curriculum vitae, as well as a cover letter that includes your interest in becoming a docent at the Stanley, to Joshua Siefken, Associate Curator of Education (
  2. Call (319-384-1977) or email Joshua Siefken ( to schedule an informational phone interview to share your interest in the docent program and learn more about it. Please leave a message if your call goes to voicemail, and we will respond.

We will accept applications on a rolling basis until September 30, 2021. Applications received by June 15 will be notified of their status in July. Please allow 3-4 weeks for staff to review applications. Please note that the university requires a background check for anyone working with K–12 students.

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