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Posted on: January 23, 2020

Want to be a docent? Cookeville history and depot museums seeking volunteers

Two docents stand next to the model train at the Depot.

COOKEVILLE – They are the smiling faces who greet you at Cookeville’s history and depot museums – and more are needed.

Docents, that is.

“Our urgent need right now is for docents who enjoy working on Saturdays,” Beth Thompson, Cookeville museums manager, said of the volunteer opportunity. “It is the busiest day of the week at both the Cookeville History Museum and Cookeville Depot Museum. There are lots of opportunities to chat with people from all over the world.”

Docents are trained museum volunteers. They greet guests, answer phone calls, sell souvenirs and answer questions. Some even help with research or special events like the Cookeville Cemetery Walk and Night at the Museums.

“Being a docent is easy – all you need is a ready smile,” Thompson said. “We will train you and provide everything you will need.”

Saturday shifts are usually three hours once or twice per month. Shifts are also available at various other times. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

What type of person makes a great docent?

“We have had docents from all walks of life: retired professionals, college students, stay-at-home parents and people who are in the work force,” Thompson said. “Really, it’s anyone who enjoys spending time in a museum.”

A docent training session is being planned. Anyone interested should call 931-528-8570 or email bthompson@cookeville-tn.gov.

Thompson said docents are a vital part of Cookeville’s museums, which host more than 20,000 visitors a year.

“Our docents are often the face of our museums and ambassadors of our town,” she said.

And it’s rewarding.

“Helping someone find clues to their family’s history, telling a relocating couple all about Cookeville and its special charms or simply showing some kids the way to have fun at the train table – there are so many ways they can make someone’s day brighter.”