Be a Docent

group of people in a gallery setting, all facing the same way, with one woman gesturing and speaking emphatically to another


Docents are an important extension of the museum’s educational and curatorial outreach to engage the public about historical and contemporary design and provide both public and private tours of our exhibitions.

Through discussions with designers, curators, museum educators and interpretation staff, docents will become highly knowledgeable in Design Education and Design Process through the lens of current exhibitions and design history. Public tours serve to introduce design as well as encourage questions and discussion around poignant and relevant topics.  Training sessions and workshops throughout the year will hone skills in public engagement and inquiry so that tours are adaptable and responsive to audiences.

Please submit application materials to

Email Subject Line: 2017 Docent Application_Last Name


  • Completed Application Form
  • Resume
  • Cover Letter (please answer the three questions in your cover letter)
    1. Explain your understanding of the difference between Art and Design.
    2. Describe your interest in becoming a docent at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.
    3. What interests, skills and experiences would you bring to the Docent team?
  • Design Writing Prompt: Browse the Cooper Hewitt Collection online. Select two objects. Imagine you are leading a tour. Describe how you would start a conversation that connects the two objects through the lens of design. (500 word maximum).

Application deadline: November 8, 2017

Important Note: Training will begin the week of December 4, 2017. Attendance at this training is required.