Clipper Staff Writer
BOUNTIFUL-- Serving as a docent at the Museum of Church History and Art seems a perfect opportunity for Bountiful resident June Allred.
For one thing, "I have an unbelievable love for church history," she said.
Allred has been a docent -- a volunteer position, which now receive callings as part-time Church service missionaries in the Family and Church History Mission -- for about 14 years now, until recently going in each Friday morning. She took a three month sabbatical and expects to return to the position shortly.
The museum is currently recruiting LDS Church members who would like to serve as volunteer tour guides called docents.
Docents give presentations about the museum' s exhibits to preschoolers, take outreach programs into schools and provides gallery information to museum visitors.
Allred especially appreciates the educational aspects of the work. "I'm constantly being educated," she said, and conversations among docents are always about church history.
Docents are required to be familiar with all exhibits, and learning the information, 'to me it's like taking classes at a university." That is especially exciting to the former fourth grade teacher.
She said they must be familiar enough with the exhibits that they can answer questions, "and we've received some pretty interesting ones."
She notes that docents can be either men or women. "Some of our best are men," she said. And most are retired, although there are some women who volunteer while their children are in school.
Docents come from all walks of life, some have been presidents of corporations and university professors. All have an avid interest in history, art, the humanities and education and should be well-rounded people who enjoy working with people.
But the best part to Allred is the camaraderie and the "fantastic" leadership. "We've formed quite a brotherhood/sisterhood," Allred said. "some of my best friends are docents."
An intensive program will prepare new docents to teach and work with museum patrons of all ages. Training classes will begin in January and run through April, with classes held once weekly.
Docents generally serve one weekly four hour shift. Docent program coordinator Nancy Andersen said that while docents are needed for all shifts, applicants who have flexible schedules and who are available for shifts in the afternoons evenings, or on Saturday are especially needed. Saturday is the museum's busiest day, followed by Monday through Wednesday evenings, when large numbers of families and LDS youth groups visit.
Allred said it's important for docents to like kids. "Oftentimes we get 80 kids arrive on busses. During the summer months, primary age children (through age 12) come in.
Allred said the staff is good to work with docents on fitting them into the best time for the docents to serve.
Those interested should call the museum at 240-4615 to request an information packet and application no later than Oct. 18.
Applicants must be willing to make a three-year commitment. All applicants will be interviewed.