Docent Program

Thank you for your interest in the Museum of Man’s docent program. The Museum of Man is the area’s only anthropology museum; we collect, preserve, interpret, and communicate evidence of human development and creativity to advance understanding and respect for all cultures. The hours you contribute will not only help the advancement of this mission, but will also help enrich the lives of visitors through thoughtful interactions. 



What is a Docent?

The word docent comes from the Latin word “docere” meaning to teach. During the 1800s it was used to describe lecturers who were not on the salaried staff of an institution; a private or volunteer tutor. Today the term is used by many museums to describe the trained volunteers who provide educational services for the museum visitor. Here at the San Diego Museum of Man, there is more than one way to provide these educational services.

Education Programs:

The permanent exhibits at the San Diego Museum of Man meet a variety of California state education standards, and educational programs are designed to meet each grade level’s needs through engaging, hands-on museum experiences; making SDMoM an ideal destination for all classes.

Docents interested in assisting education programs lead group tours of our permanent exhibits, offer hands-on artifact discoveries, direct workshops and/or give presentations to students of all ages. Education programs are always pre-arranged, happen Mon-Fri, between 10am and 3pm, and last between 1-2 hours.

Gallery Guide:

Docents interested in more informal exchanges may find being a Gallery Guide more their speed. Gallery Guides interact with museum visitors by answering questions and sharing information about the museum, its exhibits, and its programs. By spending time in any one of our permanent exhibits, a Gallery Guide becomes a source of information for visitors – pointing out interesting artifacts, sharing intriguing facts, sometimes even giving impromptu mini-tours.


SDMoM outreach programs take the Museum, or parts of it, to a classroom or to a community event. In some cases docents bring ready-made kits filled with original and reproduction artifacts to off-site locations to bring physical or cultural anthropology to life for audiences that cannot make it to the Museum itself. Other times, docents give slide presentations to lecture audiences at off-site locations.

Outreach means the educational service takes place outside of the museum galleries.


This is just a small look at what it means to be a San Diego Museum of Man docent. 

To learn more, please fill out a docent application and join us at one of our monthly meetings.

We hope to see you soon at the Museum!