The Church History Museum in Salt Lake City is looking for volunteers to train as docents and it hopes BYU students will take interest in learning some Church history.
Docents will give tours and presentations, while also providing general information to guests. The docent program helps visitors with questions or want explanation on exhibits.
Being a docent requires training and a three-year commitment to work at least four to six hours each week.
“We train docents every two years and assign them to work on a certain shift,” said Ray Halls, education program manager. “They take a training course, and then they become full-fledged docents and work with the public on the floor of the museum in the various exhibits and galleries that we have.”
Applicants will attend an orientation meeting and then are interviewed.
Halls said it takes a certain personality to be a docent.
“We look for people who interact well with others, who know the Church well and who are able to share accurate information about Church history,” Halls said.
Halls said BYU students are excellent applicants if they are willing to make the long-term commitment.
“It helps to have a basic understanding of LDS Church history, but to enjoy interacting with people, especially children and youth, and to have a desire to teach in creative and new ways in a museum setting is even more important,” said Nancy Andersen, the docent program coordinator, in a news release.
Selected individuals will receive callings as part-time Church service missionaries, and then begin training. The training is a 16-week course, which will begin in January 2012. Halls said he likened the training to a three-credit hour class at BYU.
“The training is a once-a-week session for three hours and then there’s at least that much time that they need to spend outside of class reading the assignments and preparing the presentations,” Halls said.
Peggy Fereday, a docent of five-and-a-half years, said the training was fascinating.
“It was just fabulous,” Fereday said. “The training involves learning how to give tours and how to tie the different things at the museum together to give them a thematic element.
Fereday said she enjoys working with youth groups and sharing her testimony through teaching history.
“[Being a docent] is very interesting and the museum has a very special spirit about it,” Fereday said. “You learn a lot about the Church and you help people appreciate the Church on a little bit of a different level.”
Interested students must apply by Oct. 21. Call 801-240-9573 for application information.