Docent Training Program

Docent Program

The YCBA docents are volunteer museum guides with varied backgrounds and interests. The program began when the museum opened in 1977 and is a vital part of the YCBA’s Education department. Docents are trained from September to May by YCBA educators, curators, and scholars from Yale and around the globe. Docents learn about British art, culture, and history from the sixteenth century to the present, providing context for the museum's permanent collection and special exhibitions.  


Docents lead tours and support programs that open dialogues with our audiences. They encourage participation by sharing their observations. YCBA docents engage with audiences from Yale University, the greater New Haven community, and beyond. Through public and private tours as well as weekend programs and events, the docent program serves the museum and the community by creating meaningful and engaging experiences for visitors of all ages.


Becoming a docent requires a minimum commitment of three years: one year of training followed by two years of service, which includes presenting tours and participating in public programs at the Yale Center for British Art. Learning is ongoing: docents meet as a group every Monday morning during the academic year. These meetings address topics ranging from the history of British art to how to create and conduct interactive tours and manage groups. Individual docents also conduct their own research on special projects. Curiosity, enthusiasm for learning, and willingness to try new things are essential to succeeding in this program. No previous art or art history experience is needed. 


In addition to the opportunity to study the museum’s collections, docent benefits include organized study trips, special docent gatherings, a discount in the Museum Shop, and access to Yale libraries and events.


The YCBA is no longer accepting applications for the 2023–2024 docent training class. Please check back next year. 


For more information about the program and docent-led tours, contact the Education department at or +1 203 432 2858.