Docent Training

DOCENT TRAINING CLASS

What do Explore Buffalo docents do?

  • Volunteer docents lead all of Explore Buffalo’s walking tours, including regularly scheduled and private group tours for the general public, and school tours for thousands of students from elementary to high school. With hundreds of tours given each year, there are many opportunities to participate!

Why become a docent for Explore Buffalo?

  • Being a docent for Explore Buffalo is FUN! What could be more thrilling than showing Buffalo’s incredible architecture and history to people from around the world?
  • Being a docent is a great way to meet new people within Explore Buffalo or among our many community partners. Explore Buffalo organizes regular social events for docents and volunteers.

Who can become a docent for Explore Buffalo?

  • Anyone can become a docent! All that is required is an interest in and passion for Buffalo’s history and architecture.
  • You are supplied with thorough background information and reading materials, not a script to be memorized. We encourage you to develop your knowledge of Buffalo and your unique voice as a storyteller that will convey the growing and changing story of our city.


Spring 2022 Docent Training Class

Objective: At the end of the Spring 2022 Docent Training Class, the docent trainee will have gained the following:

  1. An overview of the architecture and history of the Buffalo Niagara region
  2. Basic docent skills
  3. Confidence in public speaking
  4. Successful graduation for one Explore Buffalo tour

Class Overview: 

  • The Spring 2022 Docent Training Class is a multi-faceted learning experience  that combines two parts: Part A is classes on Zoom, various Master Docent-led training tours, and on-the-street tour training, and Part B is a small group training led by a Master Docent to learn your graduation tour. This class has been planned with COVID-19 safety as a top priority.
  • Current Explore Buffalo docents are welcome to attend any portion of this training to enhance their knowledge and skills.

Spring 2022 Docent Training Class Part A: 

  • We will begin with interactive virtual classes via Zoom that will provide the foundation of Buffalo’s rich history from 1679 to present day. This portion of training will be presented as a timeline of topics that will include major historical events, notable people, growth of industry and significant architecture. New docents will be expected to actively participate in these classes, as well as complete readings and prepare short weekly presentations. 
  • You will then be given “on the street” experience learning about Buffalo’s landmark buildings as we meet downtown for classes. You will learn the skills and techniques needed to prepare for and lead a tour, and get “on-the-job” practice preparing real-life tour stops to build your confidence and skill level.
  • Relax and have fun! You will be assigned a mentor to help you each step of the way.

Part A Class Dates and Times – Docent training will begin on Saturday, February 26, 2022 and continue to Wednesday, April 6, 2022. We will meet either on Zoom or in-person on Saturdays 9:00-11:00 AM or Wednesdays, 6:00-8:00PM. 

Attendance: New docents are expected to attend all class dates (both Saturdays and Wednesdays). Attendance is critical as the classes are designed to teach you the history of Buffalo in a timeline format. Additionally, each week, you will learn docent skills needed to give tours competently and confidently. We do understand that there may be a date when attendance is not possible due to illness or other reasons. We will do our best to work with you to make up for missed material.

Part A Class Schedule: 

  • Week 1 – Saturday, Feb. 26, 9-11am – Zoom
  • Week 2 – Wednesday, March 2, 6-8pm – Zoom
  • Week 3 – Saturday, March 12, 9-11am – Zoom
  • Week 4 – Wednesday, March 16, 6-8pm – Zoom
  • Week 5 – Saturday, March 26, 9-11am- Buffalo Landmarks #1 – Field (In person)
  • Week 6 – Wednesday, March 30, 6-8pm – Zoom
  • Week 7 – Saturday, April 2, 9-11am-Buffalo Landmarks #2- Field (In person)
  • Week 8 – Wednesday, April 6, 6-8pm – Zoom

Sunday Training Tours: Master Docents will be offering various 1-hour Training Tours on Sundays throughout the docent training class. This is a great opportunity to see experienced docents in action and enjoy a portion of our regularly scheduled tours. New docents must attend at least 2 (two) of these tours.

Spring 2022 Docent Training Class Part B: 

  • This portion of the docent training class continues after April 6, and is targeted for completion by May 7, 2022.
  • In this final part of your training, you will be paired with a Master Docent who will teach you the tour that is necessary for your graduation from this program. Several exciting tours will be offered to the Class of 2022 to learn. Docents may choose the tour they feel most interested in giving. Your Master Docent will provide the tour script, teach you the tour and provide lots of practice. To complete your training and to begin to lead tours for Explore Buffalo, new docents must complete a successful graduation tour with their Master Docent.

Application Process: 

  • Anyone interested in joining the Docent Training Class should fill out the online application form available below as the first step of the application process. The application deadline for the Spring 2022 Class is Wednesday, February 16, 2022. 
  • Explore Buffalo will notify all applicants regarding acceptance into the Spring 2022 Docent Training Class via email. Space is limited in the Docent Training Class.
  • Upon acceptance, a class fee of $95 will be required from participants by Wednesday, February 23, 2022 . This class fee covers the cost of materials for the class, and includes a portable microphone, Explore Buffalo messenger bag, and other tour supplies. Scholarships are available for the Docent Training Class – please contact Brad Hahn at brad@explorebuffalo.org for more information. 

Applications for the Spring 2022
Docent Training Class are Closed

Questions? Please contact Brad Hahn at brad@explorebuffalo.org.