Battalion of docents offers visitors a guiding light

If there’s one thing visitors to the Contemporary Jewish Museum should remember, it’s this: You don’t have to go through it alone.

With its 10 staff educators and 10 community docents, the CJM’s interactive tours program is ready to take visitors by the hand and walk the talk.

With paid admission, people can go on free group tours focusing on either the museum’s striking architecture or the art on display.

These tours — twice daily, with a third tour on Thursdays — give visitors a golden opportunity to engage with the exhibitions. Private tours are also available for a fee.

“We lead tours based on open-ended questions and dialogue,” says Emily Scheinberg, the CJM’s manager of school and teacher programs.

“This is how we put our mission in action. The guides help them look around and figure out what is so enticing about the building and the art .”

The staff educators all have professional experience in museum education. They, like the community docents, underwent rigorous training to learn about the CJM, literally top to bottom.

Scheinberg says the CJM is always looking for more volunteer community docents, especially during the busy summer tourist season. Anyone

wishing to apply should send an email to

[email protected].

“Our community docents are not just tour guides,” adds Scheinberg. “They work throughout the museum at stations, standing near exhibitions that may be difficult to understand, or near the Yud space to answer the questions of visitors who don’t go on tours.”

This is a holdover tradition from the CJM’s previous space on Steuart Street. There, guides, educators and docents were always on hand to answer questions and, more importantly, spark conversations about the exhibitions.

“We’re not a quiet museum,” Scheinberg says. “We’re a lively museum.”