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Museums Have a Docent Problem: Inside the struggle to train a mostly white, unpaid tour guide corps to talk about race.

Category: Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion

The volunteer interpretive corps at museums skews largely white, older, and female. How can museums better train these volunteers to talk about race? Should museums rely on volunteers as gallery guides at all? This article looks at efforts to improve training for docents at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art.

““Docents are one of the most vital resources for museums, but the current model literally has inequality and exclusions baked into it.”

–Porchia Moore, Department Head and Assistant Professor of Museum Studies, University of Florida

Palace Shaw was standing in one of the galleries in Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art when she heard something that rattled her. It was the summer of 2017, and the show on display was Nari Ward: Sun Splashed, a large retrospective of the Jamaican American artist's work.

Continue Reading at Slate Magazine

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