DOCENTS & VOLUNTEERS
Docent and volunteer positions are currently available!WHO WE ARE
Docents are part of the museum staffs, we work as volunteers in the museum. We currently have about 80 men and women who guide visitors of all ages through the Merced Courthouse Museum's galleries. We help people understand Merced County's history- we show them through the talents of a docent, history is not dry and far away. It is exciting, real, and personal. We experience the excitement in a schoolchild's eyes as she tries to find her neighborhood on an early aerial picture of Merced- her block has not been developed yet. We talk to a teenager who recalls the times his father brought him to this museum, he considers it "his museum" now. Best of all, this teenager has a desire to visit museums elsewhere. Seniors visit and share their stories about the "golden days" of Merced.
As docents, we are often the first and main contact visitors have with this museum and it's fascinating exhibits of historical material. This is a very important position in the museum!
CAN I BE A DOCENT
Of course! We welcome you to become a docent. You do not need experience- all you need is a love of history, education, and enthusiasm to meet the public and share. You will share your enthusiasm and your desire to see people learn. You are a "people person" who like to talk with others and share your knowledge of our area's history. Docents come from all walks of life- you don't have to be a teacher or a historian. You can be retired or a student- or any age in between. We welcome docents of any age.
Docent & Volunteer Form
WE WILL TRAIN YOU
We do not expect you to know everything- that's why we have created the docent training program. The museum holds these training sessions periodically throughout the year. Let us know if you would like more information about becoming a docent. You can call the museum office at (209) 723-2401, and we will send you an application- or you can use our online application. It's easy!
As a docent, you will be provided with a comprehensive manual that is the backbone of what you need to know. As a new docent, you are not expected to be on your own at first. We will pair you with an experienced docent for a while.
You may also want to work in our gift shop- a wonderful place that is run by volunteers. Or, if you have a special talent or area of interest in history, let us know. Do you prefer to work with school groups? We can schedule you especially for that. We will accommodate your schedule and interests- we want you for those special talents.
ARE THERE OTHER VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES FOR ME?
Yes! You can work at the museum in a variety of ways. We provide internships and community service work for students in high school and college. We have openings for R.O.P. students. We need youth docents from junior high and high school to help lead school tours. Volunteers can become "office angels" working with staff in general office work: computer support, data entry, writing acknowledgements for contributions, and helping with bulk mailing.
For all the opportunities available, go to the application form
The museum is committed to accommodate your schedule. We do have a certain number of hours per month that a docent needs to fulfill. We have an easy to follow system of recording volunteer hours- we are not overly bureaucratic, by any means. Our docent scheduler is Timmie Bressler. Volunteers are recognized each year at a special luncheon.
WHAT DO I GET OUT OF IT?
Lots! Being a docent is a great way to make new friends with common interests. As a volunteer, you are making an enormous contribution to your community, helping to build and strengthen community by providing educational experiences. You also become a part of one of Merced's leading cultural institutions. By working with professional history researchers and curators, you deepen your knowledge and expertise. You become enriched by learning from others. As your excitement grows, you pass that on to a young person. You help that student see the wonders and relevance of history to his life. You lead the visitor into discoveries that she never imagined.