HISTORY OF THE DOCENT COUNCIL OF METROPOLITAN SAINT LOUIS In 1987 a metropolitan docent council was formed with the

backing and support of the Saint Louis Junior League to plan an event called Docent Doorways. It was held at the Saint Louis Public Library in June 1988. The event was well publicized and representatives from about fifteen institutions worked on the planning committee. Funding came from the Junior League, The Saint Louis Public Library, Friends of the Saint Louis Public Library and ticket sales. The event consisted of a keynote speaker, ten workshops and a box lunch. Approximately 175 docents and tour guides attended this one-time event. In the Fall of 1989, this docent council was reactivated with the goal of creating an on-going organization which would share information and promote the roles of docents and tour guides. Eight institutions were represented. By-laws were adopted and the name Docent Council of Metropolitan Saint Louis was selected. At this first meeting, it was decided that each participating institution would be asked to pay annual dues of $25.00 to cover administrative (mailing) costs. The new council also decided to sponsor exchange tours. Since that first meeting back in 1989 the Docent Council of Metropolitan Saint Louis has gone through many changes, but the mission has remained the same; to facilitate communication and the exchange of information and ideas among the representatives from member cultural institutions in the Metropolitan Saint Louis area. The Docent Council today has 24 institutional members. It sponsors Exchange Tours, Symposiums or Round Table Discussions every year. The Docent Council has also taken on the role as advisor and supporter to all of its members. The Council is there to support and help its fellow members through discussions at council meetings and sponsors Docent Council Volunteers which help out each other’s Institutions whenever extra help is needed.

History of Docent Council Symposiums and Special Events Symposium 1993 Location: Missouri History Museum “Presentation skills” – Kathleen Sitzer, Theater Works “Forest Park” Caroline Loughlin, zoo docent & co-author of Forest Park Speaker – Linda Doede, Manager of Vol. Services – Chicago Botanical Garden and AAMV Rep “Saint Louis in the Gilded age” – MHS – docents Special needs awareness training – zoo docents Symposium 1995 Location: Four locations – Zoo, Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri History Museum, and Saint Louis Art Museum – Four different days Zoo – Panel discussion – issues facing volunteer organizations and tour or classroom presentation Missouri Botanical Garden – A tour and viewing of major plant groups. Intro to sumi painting. Missouri Historical Society - An educational program in the theater and talk on incorporating theater in your tours Saint Louis Art Museum – Art Museum docents presented a program on agerelated tours. Pre-school to adult. Symposium 1997 Location: Four locations Zoo, Missouri History Museum, Missouri Botanical Garden and the Saint Louis Art Museum on four different days.

Zoo – A panel discussion on how to make your Institution more attractive to children (panelists from Science Center, Overland Historical Society, and Laumeier Sculpture Park. The Zoo also gave tours of their Animal Hospital and research center. Missouri Botanical Garden – “New Ways of Docenting” a lecture/demo and a tour of the new Chinese Garden Missouri Historical Society – Docent do presentation about the 1904 Worlds Fair. Saint Louis Art Museum – Presents a program by an award winning story performer, January Kiefer on story telling and story telling techniques . They also provided free admission and tours of “in the Light of Italy: Corot and Early Open-Air Painting” Symposium 1999 Location: The Saint Louis Art Museum and the St. Louis Public Library “One Eminent Architect, Two Grand Buildings’ A day devoted to the architect Cass Gilbert and his two prominent works: The Saint Louis Public Library and The Saint Louis Art Museum. A slide lecture on Cass Gilbert by Ann Lernners (Library docent) in Friends Room at the Saint Louis Art Museum, docent led tours of Art Museum. Bus ride to Shell Café and docent led tours of the Public Library Docent Council Round table 2000 Location: Saint Louis Art Museum St. Louis Docents and staff members from eighteen member institutions attended our Roundtable Discussion session. Two topics were discussed, “Recruitment and Retention of Docents” and “How to Have More Interactive Tours and Hooks to Draw Groups In”. Results were published and later distributed to the docents.

Symposium 2001 Location: Repertory Theater Staff at the Repertory Theater presented the Symposium Theater’s Director, Steve Woolf, talked to us about Communication. Actors and their Director of Education, Marsha Coplon, gave us tips, voice lessons, and discussed the following topics: “Grabbing your Group” SelfPreservation in Self-Presentation, Going from “Show & Tell to a interactive Presentation. Docent Council Round table 2002 Location: Saint Louis Public Library St. Louis Docents and staff members from member institutions attended our Roundtable Discussion session. The topic which was discussed: “How Can Staff Be More Helpful to Docents.” Results were published and later distributed to the docents. Symposium 2003 Location: Missouri Botanical Garden “Working with All: Increasing Docent Awareness of people with Agerelated, Developmental, and Physical Disabilities” We had local experts on the subject speak to us. A panel of disabled people told us about how they like to be treated when they visited Museums and we had hands on activities that gave attendees an idea of what it would be like to be disabled. Docent Do’s & Don’ts were discussed. We also provided a special session for Docent coordinators on recruiting Docents of All Abilities. We even provided a handbook for all attendees. Symposium 2004 Location: Missouri History Museum

“Celebration 2004” Attendees enjoyed tours given by the MHS’ docents of the Lewis and Clark exhibit. Carolyn Gilman gave an entertaining and informative lecture to our group about the exhibit. Gave a talk about the 1904 Worlds Fair and docent representatives from member institutions gave reports on what their institutions did to celebrate “2004”. Symposium 2005 Location: Missouri History Museum “Sharing Knowledge to Make Tours Even Better in 2005” “Improving Communication Skills” Speaker: Marsha Coplon (Director of Education, Repertory Theater) “How to Make Tours More Interactive” Speaker: Louise Cameron (Head of Interpretation, Saint Louis Art Museum) “Opening and Closing Tours” Speaker: Dan Reich (Curator and Director of Education, Holocaust Museum and Learning Center) A Staff Appreciation Luncheon 2006 Location: Saint Louis Public Library, Buder Branch “Hats off to our Staff!” A luncheon was provided by the Docent Council of Metropolitan Saint Louis to staff members from all over St. Louis who work with docents. The council wanted to thank them by serving a delicious lunch and providing them an opportunity to network with your peers. Symposium 2007

Location: Missouri History Museum “Age Matters” “Working With High School Students, Part I” Saint Louis Art Museum - Louise Cameron, Head of Interpretation & Betsy Zimbalist, Docent “Working With High School Students, Part II” Holocaust Museum and Learning Center - Jean Cavender, Director of HMLC & Fran Poger, Docent “Working With Older Adults, Part I” The Saint Louis Zoo - Lisa Berman, Outreach Coordinator & Celeste Ruwwe, Docent “Working With Older Adults, Part II: When the older adults are the Docents” (A special session for staff: Docents welcome)Missouri Historical Society Halcyone Brown, Volunteer Services Coordinator