The Fralin Student Docents

The Fralin Student Docents are one of the oldest volunteer university student docent programs in the country. Our Student Docents facilitate close-looking with original works of art, gain vital experience as museum educators, and serve the community by leading tours for thousands of area school children every year. 

New docents participate in a semester-long training course in dialogic teaching, public speaking, and education theory, and are given ample opportunity to practice these skills. Some knowledge of basic art history is helpful but not required. After the training semester, docents attend weekly education meetings Fridays from 1–2pm. Docent education meeting topics vary semester to semester, but always include education specific to the art and exhibitions on view.

The Student Docents are an official UVA student organization operating under the supervision of The Fralin’s education department. Interested students are encouraged to apply by the spring of their second year in order to have at least one full year as an active docent after completing the training course. Rising fourth years will only be accepted to the program if they are planning to stay on for graduate study. Applications are reviewed by the Manager of Docent & Teacher Programs and a committee of student docents.

Docent Training Course

Docent Selections

The Fall 2024 training class is full. Applications for the Spring 2025 Docent Training Course will be available in September 2024. Students with questions regarding the program can contact Zora Heard by email with questions.

Continuing Education for Student Docents

After their initial training period, student docents attend weekly education meetings that include workshops and lectures by education staff, curators, and guest speakers on special exhibitions and the permanent collection. As a group, docents take annual field trips to other museums.

The Fralin Community Docents

As volunteer museum educators, Fralin docents serve the community by encouraging close-looking with original works of art, as they lead engaging and interactive tours for school groups and community organizations from across the central Virginia region. They also assist with the museum’s special programs, including the annual Writer's Eye competition.

For community members who wish to become docents, the museum accepts applications here on a rolling basis. For information about future docent training opportunities, contact Zora Heard at 434-243-2050 or by email.

Continuing Education for Community Docents

After training, docents receive ongoing education from staff, curators, and guest speakers on special exhibitions and the permanent collection. As a group, docents occasionally take field trips to other museums. Some docents also attend regional and national docent education conferences. Weekly docent meetings are held on Fridays from 1-2 pm, August-December and January-April.

The Fralin Volunteer Board

For more than 40 years, The Fralin Volunteer Board has supported the mission of the museum through activities that facilitate educational opportunities, engage members of the University and surrounding communities, and help raise funds for exhibitions and programming. Fralin Volunteer Board members donate their time, talent, and treasure to help the museum connect students, faculty, staff, and the community through the experience of art. 

The Volunteer Board is comprised of museum members who are passionate about The Fralin and art. Members are dedicated advocates for the museum and help the museum in many ways. The Board organizes the Museum’s Trips Program and monthly book discussions, opportunities open to Fralin members. The Board also organizes the annual Fashion As Art event. Board members serve as greeters at museum events, work with staff to recruit and retain Fralin Members, create floral arrangements to beautify the museum, and more!

For more information on how you can get involved, please contact The Fralin at [email protected]