Aiken County Historical Museum seeks new docents, provides training

September 19, 2018

The Aiken County Historical Museum is looking for docent volunteers with a passion not only for history but also carpentry, gardening and other skills.

The museum will hold training sessions for docents from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 1 and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 2.

The first day will focus on instruction about docents’ duties and the basics of the museum’s policies led by Leah Walker, the museum’s site and events manager.

The second day will feature information on the inner workings of the museum and how docents play a key role in helping the museum meet its daily mission led by Lauren Virgo, the museum’s collection manager.

“This building, Banksia, is over 17,000 square feet – 17,500 square feet – and we have a staff of three and one on the weekend,” Walker said. “Docents are our absolute foundation here at Banksia.”

No experience is necessary to become a docent, and volunteers can be history enthusiasts – or not – Walker said. Varied volunteer opportunities are available.

“If you love to garden, we’d love to have you trim the rosemary bushes out front and help with the garden,” she said. “I have a gentlemen who builds our pedestals for exhibitions. That’s all he does. We have a lady who works on our miniatures and restores our dollhouses. I’ve had someone make curtains, and then you have docents at the front desk and who do the tours. Whether you want to be behind the scenes or up front, we have a place for you here.”

Docents can volunteer as many hours as they want and set their schedules.

“One docent puts in more than 30 hours a month. She is constantly here. Another does maybe three hours a month,” Walker said. “Docents do have a shift, but there is no requirement for hours.”

Walker said the museum’s docents are “a big family.”

“We love each other,” she said. “We have a great time. We celebrate birthdays and holidays. We really enjoy each other’s company.”

The museum offers docent training once a year in October but records the sessions, allowing volunteers who cannot attend the training to start at other times throughout the year, Walker said.

For more information about docent training or to RSVP for the training sessions, call Walker at 803-642-2015 or send an email to lwalker@aikencountysc.gov.

Want to go?

WHAT: Volunteer docent training

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 1 and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 2

WHERE: Aiken County Historical Museum, 433 Newberry St. S.W.

COST: Free

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Call 803-642-2015 or email lwalker@aikencountysc.gov

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