Going Solo...

Ever since I came to Framingham and attended a guided tour at Danforth Museum of Art, I was keen on giving a tour myself perhaps sometime in Winters of 2010. Looks like the opportunity came well in advance :) I was supposed to shadow a tour today but owing to some last minute changes, I learned that I am supposed to conduct a Public Tour solo! Now, being excited about ART or reading ART books is one thing, doing a public tour is an entirely different experience. You don't know about your audience's background, you have near zero idea of how much time viewers would like to spend listening to you, their moods or state of minds, their expectations from museum etc-there are just too many variables in the process, which can impede a new docent's enthusiasm and confidence in more than one ways :D

Anyways at sharp 1 PM, as the tour commenced, I took the viewers into (my fav) Morgan Bulkeley gallery and after brief introductions started probing visitors with questions. The VTS style worked yet again and within 5-7 mins I could feel a personal connection with the viewers, which simplified conducting rest of the tour. We discussed what artworks can tell us about people, lifestyles and beliefs from various times and cultures. We shared a common concern with our modern day consumeristic culture, which seems to be a visible impediment in our collective progress towards living a happier, healthier and adventurous life.

The tour lasted for about an hour and we covered works by Morgan Bulkeley, Gerry Bergstein and David Arinson in the hour long tour. In retrospect, I'd say I had a great time, learned so much more about the artworks I've seen almost 20 times by now, exchanged some great ideas and carried with myself a bagful of pleasant memories for the days to come.

For the benefit of those of you who haven't visited us yet, in short here's a quick snapshot on our Public Tours:
  • Danforth Museum offers docent led public tours on first-weekend of every month.
  • Museum admission is FREE with Museums On Us™
  • Our tours are full of surprises and we try hard to meet expectations of our visitors.
  • Public tours stress critical thinking, observation skills, and creative evaluation through close examination and discussion of artworks from our permanent and rotating exhibits.
  • Our museum is handicapped accessibleand we give extra attention to special needs of our visitors.

Hope to meet some of you in person at the museum soon :)

The voice of the intellect is a soft one, but it does not rest until it has gained a hearing.~Sigmund Freud

[Image Courtesy-© FraminghamNavigator]


s k gupta said...

Ekla Chalo Re..
Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore composed this message with great farsight...
Going Solo has many special previleges..
You can't blame anyone else..
You have to give your best..
You get 100 % audience attention & personal satisfaction.
Moreover , if you are mentally prepared,such guided tours are welcome even at short notice.
If the foundation is strong, the super-structure can be made within a short span of time.
When it comes to finishing, just add colours & variety to make it superb.

Remember..A Docent possesses more knowledge about the exhibits than most of the visitors.
Give respect with passion..and you are bound to be successful.
Getting audience attention & building friendly rapport with good communication skill accompanied by command over subject are basic ingredients of success in such important missions.
This success on debut will go a long way in creating respect for ART as well as Docents in the eyes of visitors.Customer delight is most important.
The icing over a perfectly baked Cake is the tips furnished at the will generate interest & curiousity in the mind of those , who couldn't visit this great museum so far.
Number of footfalls will certainly increase with this enthusiastic effort.
With such nice experience in the first attempt, you are ready to embrace uncertainty with ease & walk extra mile with greater confidence.

A word of caution..there is nothing like guaranteed success in such endeavours..One must continue to be innovative & try out new ways ( within the rules of Museum ) to suit audience interest even at the cost of occasional goof-up.
In any VOLUNTEER EFFORT,you either succeed or you learn.
Sometimes ,learning is more important than Success.
Let it always remain a joyful experience to all .

Suhail said...

Looks like you are entirely immersed in learning "art" these days! I second @s k gupta's viewpoint that in volunteering you either succeed or you learn! Eitherways if one enjoys the process and shares it with others, that's half the goal achieved already.

Unlike other offbeat blogs I follow, I just hope that this one continues to deliver similar content in future as well. But yes great content so far.