Docent and Guide Course

Our volunteers are invaluable in helping us to promote access for visitors to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

We are currently looking for individuals interested in becoming volunteer docents or gallery guides. This is your chance to help inspire and connect visitors with the artworks on view at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

The training of new Gallery volunteer docents is generously sponsored by Canaccord Wealth Management.

WHAT is a docent or gallery guide?

While docents and guides differ in function, both groups interpret art, guide people through the Gallery, encourage dialogue, provide information to visitors, and facilitate understandings about art. Both groups receive similar training, yet have slightly different methods of interacting with audiences:

Docents primarily lead school groups on tours of the Gallery, by animating the collection in dynamic ways for learners of all ages.

Gallery guides conduct the daily public tour, by interpreting the collection and exhibitions through conversations with visitors from around the neighbourhood and around the world.
New volunteers can determine whether they want to pursue training as a docent or gallery guide after completing the training course.

WHY volunteer as a docent or gallery guide?
There are many benefits to becoming a volunteer at AGNS, including opportunities:

    • to meet new people
    • to enhance your resumé and gain practical work experience
    • to help provide a service to the community
    • to develop new and existing skills
    • to work alongside experts in their field, including learning directly from
       artists, curators and art historians
    • to become a part of the AGNS community by being involved in events and openings
    • to share and promote the AGNS collections to a diversity of audiences
    • to have fun!

WHO should apply?

We are interested in individuals who:
    • Are lifelong learners and enjoy sharing their knowledge and experience with others
    • Are committed to helping the AGNS fulfill its mandate
    • Have a knowledge and love of art and art history
    • Have the interest and ability to research information
    • Have, through employment, education, or volunteer activities, experience communicating   
       with the public

Although bilingualism is not necessary, it is an asset as we get many requests for French speaking guides/docents.

HOW to become a docent or gallery guide?

 No experience needed!

We will provide you with all the necessary training to carry out your volunteer role with confidence and enthusiasm.

Training will include learning about our collection through behind-the-scenes tours, talks with curator and artists, studio demonstrations, and lively discussions about the art. New volunteers will receive guidance in three phases of training:

1) Introductory Training Course – The multi-week training session offers an overview of Art Gallery of Nova Scotia operations,its collection and touring strategies. This course is three hours a week for six weeks (fours in the spring, 2 weeks in the fall to review).

2) Mentored Training – A mentor is paired with you to provide further guidance in your training by helping you become familiar with the gallery, touring strategies and resources.

3) Integrated Training – Allows new volunteers to gain the same training as experienced docents and guides once they have completed their training by attending weekly meetings, conducting research, following tours, and preparing to tour on his or her own.

After the training period docents and guides are expected to commit at least four hours per week to the program. This includes attending a weekly meeting and conducting one tour a week or the equivalent of 4 tours per month. Interested individuals will follow a daily tour at 2:30 pm to learn more about what it is like to tour the Gallery.

WHEN can I become a docent or gallery guide?

The next docent and gallery guide introductory course will be Friday, January 16, 2015 from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm and Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th from 10:00 - 3:00 pm, both days.

Participants are expected to attend all three days.

Orientation will take place on Thursday, January 8, 2015 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.


The orientation and course will take place at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, in Halifax.

Applicants may attend meetings and participate in weekly training before attending the introductory course.

HOW can I apply?

Please fill out the APPLICATION FORM here. This form can be submitted by email to or dropped to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s information desk, to the attention of Laura Carmichael.

For more information please contact:

Laura Carmichael
Assistant Curator of Education


Information, resources, and registration details:


Information Desk 


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