The South Dakota State Historical Society Museum, located at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre, is looking for individuals interested in sharing their time, expertise and love of history to become volunteer docents.
Docents are individuals who specialize in providing tours to groups such as schools, bus tours, special guests or organizations that periodically visit the museum. Docents will provide tours for groups requesting a tour guide.
Museum staff will be providing training over the next few weeks to train a new corps of docents to assist with the growing number of special tour requests at the Cultural Heritage Center.
“We will be providing two training opportunities for future docents,” said Museum Director Jay Smith. “We’ve been creating a new training process that includes additional resources, individualized coaching and a set of themes we wish to convey to visitors.”
Session 1 is Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 2 p.m. CDT and Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 2 p.m. Session 2 is Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 2 p.m. and Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 2 p.m.
People interested in becoming a docent need to attend both days of a session, and each training will last approximately 90 minutes. There is no fee to become a docent, and those who complete the training will be given a shirt that identifies them as a docent.
“People will enjoy themselves,” Smith said. “Being a good docent means more than providing a recitation of facts or a canned tour, and we are happy to help people develop the necessary skills. South Dakota history and heritage are filled with amazing stories and fascinating events, and we want people who will help us get the public excited about the compelling history of South Dakota.”
Most tours are 30-45 minutes in length, and docents should be physically able to stand for an hour, though wheelchair accommodations are available. Scheduling is flexible depending on tour requests and docent availability.
Anyone with questions about the docent training or how to get involved in the South Dakota State Historical Society should call 605-773-3458 and ask for information about docent activities.
The museum is open from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. CDT Monday through Saturday, and 1-4:30 p.m. on Sundays and most holidays. Call 605-773-3458 for more information about exhibits, special events and upcoming activities.
About the South Dakota State Historical Society
The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Education. The State Historical Society, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is headquartered at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. The center houses the society’s world-class museum, the archives, and the historic preservation, publishing and administrative/development offices. Call 605-773-3458 or visit www.history.sd.gov for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call 605-394-1936 for more information.