Docents & Guides

We are currently looking for volunteer docents and gallery guides. This is your chance to help inspire and connect visitors with the artworks on view at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

Docent leading a tour at the Gallery

What is a docent or gallery guide?

While docents and guides differ in function, both groups interpret art, guide people through the Gallery, encourage dialogue, provide information to visitors, and facilitate understandings about art. Both groups receive similar training, yet have slightly different methods of interacting with audiences:

  • Docents primarily lead school groups on tours of the Gallery, by animating the collection in dynamic ways for learners of all ages.
  • Guides conduct the daily public tour, by interpreting the collection and exhibitions through conversations with visitors from around the world.

New volunteers can determine whether they want to pursue training as a docent or gallery guide after completing the training course.

Why volunteer as a docent or gallery guide?

There are many benefits to becoming a volunteer at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia including opportunities to:

  • Meet new people
  • Enhance your resumé and gain practical work experience
  • Help provide a service to the community
  • Develop new and existing skills
  • Work alongside experts in their field, including learning directly from artists, curators and art historians
  • Become a part of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia community by being involved in events and openings
  • Share and promote the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia collections to a diversity of audiences
  • Have fun!

Who should apply?

We are interested in individuals who:

  • Are lifelong learners and enjoy sharing their knowledge and experience with others
  • Are committed to helping the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia fulfill its mandate
  • Have a knowledge and love of art and art history
  • Have the interest and ability to research information
  • Have, through employment, education, or volunteer activities, experience communicating with the public

Although bilingualism is not necessary, it is an asset as we get many requests for French speaking guides/docents.

How do you become a docent or gallery guide?

No experience is needed. We will provide you with all the necessary training to carry out your volunteer role with confidence and enthusiasm. Training will include learning about our collection through behind-the-scenes tours, talks with curator and artists, studio demonstrations, and lively discussions about the art. New volunteers will receive guidance in three phases of training:

  1. Introductory Training Workshop – The weekend long training session offers an overview of Art Gallery of Nova Scotia operations, its collection and touring strategies. This workshop is offered twice a year, once in the fall, and once in January.
  2. Mentored Training – A mentor is paired with you to provide further guidance in your training by helping you become familiar with the gallery, touring strategies and resources.
  3. Integrated Training – Allows new volunteers to gain the same training as experienced docents and guides once they have completed their training by attending weekly meetings, conducting research, following tours, and preparing to tour on his or her own.

After the training period docents and guides are expected to commit at least four hours per week to the program. This includes attending a weekly meeting and conducting one tour a week or the equivalent of 4 tours per month. Interested individuals will follow a daily tour at 2:00 pm to learn more about what it is like to tour the Gallery.

How can I apply?

Fill out the application form on our volunteer page and submit by email to or drop off at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s visitor services desk.