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  • Hampton Roads Naval Museum

Ira Hanna
Caption: One of our museum docents is pictured providing some meaningful interpretation in our exhibit "The Ten Thousand-Day War at Sea: The U.S. Navy in Vietnam, 1950-1975."


Museum Docent

Docents bring history to life for visitors by answering questions and giving tours. You can view the position description below or you can download and save the PDF position description here: Museum Docent Position Description.

To see our museum docents in action, click here

To request an application, contact our volunteer coordinator, Darcy Sink at or 757-322-2992.


Title: Museum Docent

Commitment: Two (2) shifts per month requested

Supervisor: Volunteer Coordinator

Objective: Docents interpret the museum’s exhibits to the general public and organized tour groups. Guides increase accessibility of U.S. Naval History though sharing information, making connections, and answering questions in a friendly and engaging manner. This advances HRNM’s mission by promoting public awareness, appreciation, and preservation of U.S. Naval History.


● Learn the content of the museum’s exhibits and gallery programs through training and ongoing professional development.

● Develop an educational and interactive guided tour suitable for diverse audiences based on the tour guide manual and observations of veteran docents.

● Gauge and adapt to visitors’ interests and needs (e.g. by adjusting tour length, content, or style) to ensure a positive educational experience.

● Ensure the safety and security of guests and exhibits by modeling and informing visitors of best practices and notifying staff of accidents or concerns.

● Maintain knowledge of publications, programs, events, staff, facilities, and daily schedules at HRNM as well as Nauticus and the Battleship Wisconsin to share with visitors as appropriate.

● Serve as a museum ambassador in the community by maintaining awareness of HRNM’s programs and initiatives and promoting as appropriate.

● Participate in occasional workshops, lectures, and field trips offered by the museum as well as independent reading and study to improve knowledge and interpretation.

● Act as a mentor for new docents as requested by the volunteer coordinator.

● Schedule shifts in advance and record hours after each assignment.

Guides must be able to:

● Speak clearly and comfortably with diverse individuals in large and small groups.

● Move through the galleries and sit/stand for extended periods.

● Maintain a clean and professional appearance.

● Abide by all museum policies and procedures.

Training, Support, and Benefits:

● Volunteer handbook and docent manual; access to research library and digital resources

● One-on-one training and shadowing with staff and veteran docents

● Ongoing training, feedback, and professional development opportunities

● Free admission to many area museums


Docents are scheduled for 2.5 or 3.5 hour shifts during museum operating hours and by request for special tours and events. A minimum of two (2) shifts per month is requested.

Published: Wed Jul 10 09:06:06 EDT 2024