The Docent Program
Docents, the Wellin Museum's student educators, are an integral part of our mission as a teaching museum. Each semester, the Wellin employs 30–35 Hamilton students who have an interest in teaching, museums, and visual art. These students help the Wellin facilitate Hamilton class visits, K-12 school visits, public events, and community programming.
Working as a docent offers students opportunities for experiential learning and professional growth through teaching, research, and collaborative projects. Docents participate in ongoing training that encompasses art museum pedagogy, museum operations, the Wellin's collection, and exhibitions. Docents learn to employ a variety of gallery teaching methods and gain fluency working with different audiences, from college classes to children to the general public.
The docent program is proud to attract students studying a wide variety of disciplines, from art to environmental studies to government to philosophy, and we aim to help all docents develop transferable skills that will serve them in any career. Through working as a docent, students gain practical experience with public speaking, teamwork, research, and event planning. Above all, the docent program models a healthy work environment that contributes to each student's professional foundation.
Current opportunities will be posted on Handshake, Hamilton College's student employment platform. Students can learn more about working on campus, including current compensation information, on Hamilton's Student Employment website.
For additional information on the docent program, contact Marjorie Hurley, Museum Educator and Docent Program Supervisor, at email@example.com.
Occasionally, opportunities are available for students to work in advanced roles planning educational programs, researching the collection, and modeling the museum digitally.
Student Assistants in the education department support the Museum Educator in developing programs for K-12 audiences, youth and family groups, and Hamilton students. Projects include researching and writing lesson plans for K-12 audiences, designing studio art projects, networking with campus organizations, and assisting with training incoming docents.
In this role, students perform a variety of tasks to assist the Collections Curator, including but not limited to conducting condition checks, putting together exhibition checklists, preparing exhibition- and loan-related paperwork, and researching and cataloging artworks in the permanent collection.
SketchUp 3-D Design Assistants
Students in this role assist the Building Manager and Preparator in various tasks related to digital and physical design projects for the museum. They work collaboratively to produce accurate working models of the museum building and to design furnishings, exhibition elements and components to enhance the museum space and its functionality.
During the summer, the Wellin regularly has openings for Hamilton students to work behind-the-scenes at the museum. Summer assistants work full time (35 hours per week) primarily in one department within the museum. Departmental assignments might include education, exhibitions, or collections.
Artist + Student collaborations
The Wellin Museum is committed to encouraging and supporting artists to experiment in their practice and create new works for exhibitions at the museum. Since opening in 2012, six artists have chosen to create site-specific installations, all of which required student assistants to provide support in translating the artist’s practice in a new or experimental way. In 2022, seven Hamilton College students were hired to create a woodblock print mural with artist Yashua Klos. On her time with the artist, Emma Berry '22 reflected: "Despite being a studio art concentrator, I had almost no experience working in woodblock printing and had never worked on a team to create art before. I’m thankful that Yashua gave us the opportunity to participate in almost all aspects of this project, from pinning, gluing, and arranging pieces of the collage, to printing woodblocks he had carved, to eventually carving our own."
Read more about the student experience creating When the Parts Untangle on our blog.