Docent Training


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 people from around the world Buffalo’s incredible architecture and history?
  • Explore Buffalo is a docent-run organization, with a board of directors composed of active docents and volunteers, so your efforts will be supported and appreciated.
  • 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 conveying the growing and changing story of our city.

Docent Training Programs

  • Our Winter Docent Training Program is on Saturday mornings from 9 AM – 12 PM for nine weeks beginning in February. Information on this program is available beginning in November.
  • Our Spring and Fall Docent Training Programs are accelerated two-week programs on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings from 9 AM – 12 PM. The Spring program is held in early May, and the Fall program is held in September. Information on the Spring program is available beginning in February, and information on the Fall program is available beginning in June.

Fall 2019 Docent Training Program

Tour Training

  • The Fall 2019 Docent Training Program will train new docents for the Inside Downtown North downtown walking tour. Taking other Explore Buffalo walking tours, especially Turn of the Century Treasures, is suggested preparation for Docent Training to become familiar with our walking tours.
  • The Inside Downtown North tour is offered on a regular schedule from November to April, and is the winter version of the Turn of the Century Treasures tour. Docents who learn the Inside Downtown North tour for the winter season can easily transition to give the Turn of the Century Treasures tour in the summer.
  • New docents are asked to learn a second tour of their choosing within one year of completing their graduation tour, either through a scheduled training class or one-on-one with a mentor.

Class dates & time

  • Monday, Wednesday, & Friday mornings, 9 AM – 12 PM, September 23-October 4.
  • A Graduation Tour will be scheduled upon completion of the course, by October 31st.
  • Attendance is essential; applicants who will miss more than one class due to travel commitments, etc. should consider other volunteer opportunities with Explore Buffalo. Due to space constraints for the Docent Training Program, we are unable to accept docent trainees who will miss multiple classes.


  • Classroom sessions will be held at First Presbyterian Church on Symphony Circle.
  • Field sessions for the specific tour training will take place downtown.

Application process

  • Anyone interested in joining the Docent Training Program should fill out the online Application form available below as the first step of the application process. The application deadline is Friday, September 13. 
  • After reviewing your application, Explore Buffalo will contact you with a phone call to discuss the program and your interests in Buffalo architecture, history, and more.
  • Explore Buffalo will notify all applicants regarding acceptance into the Fall 2019 Docent Training Program via email. Space is limited in the Docent Training Program.
  • Upon acceptance, a course fee of $95 will be required from participants by September 20, 2019. This course fee covers the cost of printing and other materials for the course, and includes a portable microphone, Explore Buffalo messenger bag, and other tour supplies.

Applications for the Fall 2019 Docent Training Class are closed. Applications for the Winter 2020 Class will open in November 2019.

Questions? Please contact Brad Hahn at