Docents desired

The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art is looking for volunteers interested in giving guided group tours of art at the museum and on the JCCC campus. 

Applications for the docent positions are being accepted through Jan. 9, said Karen Gerety Folk, the museum's curator of art education. 

"Several of our current members are retired JCCC staff or faculty, or they still work here part-time, and I would love to invite more individuals who already have love and familiarity with the college to think about joining our group," Gerety Folk said. 

Those who provide tours now say they enjoy watching visitors get enthusiastic about the art they are seeing. 

During a recent tour, students from Rockhurst University were interested to see that the Nerman had works by artists who also had pieces at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo., said Doreen Maronde, a former JCCC professor and dean who has served as a docent for six years. 

Another docent, artist Susan Tinker, said she finds it fulfilling to see visitors "get a better sense of just what art really is and a desire to come back again." 

To become a docent, a person must be available to participate in a training group that will meet for 90 minutes once or twice a week for 12 weeks, every Tuesday afternoon and alternating Wednesday afternoons. 

The training schedule follows the demand for tours, which typically take place during weekday hours. The docent program requires a commitment of at least two years, and new docents begin leading tours within their first six months, beginning with team tours alongside an active docent. 

Active individuals contribute about 50 hours a year in the docent program, which translates into about 10 tours annually and six continuing education training meetings each semester. At those meetings, participants learn about new exhibitions and additions to the permanent collection. 

Since the museum opened five years ago, more than 8,300 individuals have taken guided group tours of the museum and campus. In addition, volunteers have contributed more than 8,800 hours of their time welcoming visitors, training together and leading tours for visitors ages 5 through adult. 

For more information, please email Gerety Folk or call her at 913-469-8500, ext. 4771, or visit the education page at You stop by the museum's information desk for a docent position description, training schedule and application form.