The Docent Book Club started in 2014 and provides members of the Telfair Docent Program an opportunity to enjoy fellowship while expanding their knowledge of art and artists.
The meetings were first held in a café located on the second floor at the Jepson Center. When that space was later transitioned into the 912 Gallery, the meetings were moved to a nearby meeting room in the Jepson Center.
Participating docents gather once a month, each meeting focuses on a new book with tailored discussion questions provided in advance. While in earlier years book selections covered a wider range of art topics, as the Book Club evolved more of an emphasis was placed on choosing books that related directly to art works and artists represented in Telfair’s permanent collection and special exhibitions.
Edie Schmidt, a Telfair docent since 2007 and a book club regular attendee, says:
“The Docent Book Club gives docents a chance to meet, greet and exchange ideas. Reading and discussing books on art and artists enables docents to gain new insights, not only about art and artists in the Telfair Collection, but also the Art World in general. Through learning and discussing we also become more confident as museum docents.”
While meetings usually take place at the Jepson Center, due to the recent closure the book club has continued to meet utilizing the Zoom platform which hasn’t deterred the group’s engagement of both veteran and new members.
Helen Baker, a Telfair docent since 2017, is new to the Book Club and remarks:
Because I am a new participant, my first two meetings were by Zoom. Despite the technological challenges of “attending” a meeting this way, the docents were not daunted! We had very well-organized discussions each time, and I already feel more capable of leading conversations with museum visitors about several works in the collection.
Telfair docents are always eager to gain in knowledge in order to provide informative and enjoyable tours to visitors, members, and guests. The COVID-19 pandemic may have closed the doors to the museum temporarily, but for Telfair Museum docents the doors to learning and engaging in the enjoyment of art and artists are always open. When tours are again offered, Telfair docents will be ready to welcome and engage visitors again.