1. Harry S. Truman
  2. About the Library
  3. Volunteer Program
  4. Museum Docent/Tour Guide

Museum Docent/Tour Guide

SUPERVISED BY: Museum Curator (exhibit training), Educational Programs Coordinator (tour training, including schools), Volunteer Coordinator (tour assignments)

PURPOSE OF JOB: Provide a welcoming, hospitable environment and rewarding learning experience to museum visitors through guided tours.


  1. Conducting museum tours of approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours in length. Be comfortable speaking to small and large groups of people of all ages.
  2. Conducting occasional tours, if necessary, of museum and facilities (behind the scenes) for VIPs, special visiting groups, etc.
  3. Greeting and welcoming tour groups upon their arrival at the Library.
  4. Dealing skillfully with a variety of visitors under a variety of circumstances.
  5. Continually keeping informed about changes in museum exhibits.
  6. Assisting staff at the information desks by providing information to museum visitors and answering their questions about the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum, particularly if your tour is late arriving.
  7. Assisting, on occasion, with evening special event programs.
  8. In the event that a tour fails to show up, docents might wander through the exhibition gallier to engage individual visitors and families in impromptu tours or conversations.
  9. Taking responsibility to find a replacement docent if you cannot give a tour that has been assigned to you. A list of current docents and phone numbers is provided to all docents. Tour schedules are completed and docents are assigned tours approximately four weeks in advance. Schedules are then mailed to docents. Docents are required to confirm that they can give the tour(s) they have been assigned.

A minimum commitment of four tours a month for a year is required. Docents are needed for weekday and/or weekend tours. During the summer, in addition to booked tours, public tours are scheduled a month in advance, three every day Monday - Saturday and two on Sundays. Outside of the summer months, booked tours consist of school groups, adult groups, chartered tours, etc.


Must be age 21 or older

High School degree

Enjoy meeting and interacting with other people

Personable, outgoing

Reliable, responsible

Extensive prior knowledge of the Truman Presidency is not required, but a prospective docent should have a working knowledge of American history and a desire to learn

Capable of learning new material rapidly and willing to invest time and expend the effort necessary to study material on the Truman Administration and the Truman Library

Able to work independently

Attend a 6-8 week training program

Able to accept supervision

Able to speak comfortably before groups of people

Physically able to lead tours around the museum

Enthusiastic , flexible


Following at least three tours by different tour guides

Viewing several films, including the Charles Guggenheim film being shown in the museum auditorium

Reading material including biographies by McCullough and Hamby

4-5 sessions with the Museum Curator and/or the Educational Programs Coordinator concerning the exhibits, as well as tour and question techniques

Give a sample tour to 4-6 museum visitors accompanied by staff

Docents receive additional training while assisting Visitor Services staff at the museum information counters. This on-the-job training enables docents to learn more about the day-to-day questions that visitors ask.

Total time involved in training is approximately 6-8 weeks.


Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum, Independence, Missouri


Knowledge about Harry S. Truman, the Library and Museum, and the educational aspects offered to visitors through a variety of programs/exhibits; discount prices in the museum gift shop; invitations to special events; volunteer appreciation programs; free parking; free subscription to "Whistle-Stop," the quarterly newsletter of the Harry S. Truman Library Institute; free admission to the museum for you and your immediate family.