SJMA's Docents

The primary link between the San Jose Museum of Art and the public, docents help the Museum fulfill its mission of fostering awareness, appreciation, and understanding of contemporary art. With their open, inquiring minds, and a desire to learn from others, SJMA’s docents engage the public imagination by encouraging new ways of seeing and thinking about art. They stimulate visitors to learn for themselves—to find at the Museum something they may not have discovered alone.

Docents engage approximately 7,500 visitors each year. They walk visitors through the galleries and lead lively, participatory discussions about selected works on view.

As a docent apprentice, you will undergo a five-month training course before you begin giving tours. You will learn to facilitate an authentic viewing experience for all adult and family visitors. The program includes seminars on the history of contemporary art, learning theories, art interpretation strategies, and touring techniques; selected readings, in-gallery training; and tour observations. Active docents participate in exhibition briefing sessions in preparation for their tours and enjoy opportunities for personal enrichment through informative lectures and day trips to other museums.

Our next docent training course starts in January 4, 2016. Prospective volunteer docents should want to learn about contemporary art and to provide positive museum experiences for visitors. A background in art is not required; a passion for lifelong learning is.

Apply for this position

If you need more information about volunteering as an SJMA docent prior to submitting an application, please send e-mail to or call 408.291.5393.



Share your passion for art by volunteering at SJMA. Whether you wish to be trained to give gallery tours, can't wait to go into Bay Area classrooms to inspire kids with art, or love the atmosphere in the SJMA Store, we have a volunteer job for you.

Current Opportunities