Touring Techniques

Touring Techniques

Touring Techniques Types of Tours Public Tours (60 minutes) Take place at 2 pm, Tuesday-Sunday This tour may run longer, if you and your audience agree to this. An assortment of viewers you will become adept at speaking to the middle of the group. Generally not a scripted tour, though you may have pieces in mind Ask the viewers what they would like to see and discuss Demands flexibility A healthy amount of works to cover is 6-8; do not attempt more than 10. Visitors can return to see more work at a later time. Your role is not to show them every piece on view, but to begin a conversation between them and a few carefully chosen pieces. Try to stay on one floor, unless a comparison of works on two floors seems necessary. School Group Tours (60 minutes) You will know the school and age group beforehand.

You will also know what they would like to see and if there are any requests from the teacher to see (or not see) a specific piece. Often, school groups are coming and/or going to other museums, so punctuality is essential. Practice having clear boundaries when the tour is over, it is over. End the tour promptly and bring the group to the Lobby. Group Tours (60 minutes, or variable) Requested by a specific group. Michael matches docents to these groups, according to need and desire. ASK ME Tours (variable) Docents wear ASK ME badges and staff specific galleries. Generally scheduled on high attendance days when moving tours through the galleries would be difficult. Allows for flexible interaction with museum visitors. Event Tours (variable) Evening tours, associated with catered events when the galleries remain open Tour Organization

Introduction As you wait for your tour to begin, greet your guests and build a rapport with them. Be friendly and approachable. Script your introduction (business) to allow your nerves to settle. Welcome and introduce yourself Cell phones off and large bags in coat check (do they need stools?) Photography (PC only) Pencils only Remain two feet from all works of art; no touching For children, rather than telling them the rules, ask them for the rules. They will remember what they tell you more than what you tell them. Information on the building; we collect art post-1945; what do you want them to recall about the building on the tour? Get to know your guests. Where are they from? Have they been here before? What are they interested in seeing? If your tour relies upon their interests, let them know you are open and flexible in what you cover. If your tour is pre-scripted, provide a brief agenda for the tour. This helps set reasonable expectations, can ease anxiety for new visitors, and gives you an air of credibility.

Where will you start? Where will you end? How many pieces can you expect to see? Explain why you will not be covering all of the pieces on view. They can always return. Let visitors know that it is okay to ask questions and share their opinions. You are facilitating a dialogue. Body Have a plan, but adapt for your specific audience As much as possible, tour only ONE floor Keep the mobility of your guests in mind (if an elevator is needed, note which one they can use) Any more than 10 artworks on an hour-long tour is too much. Simplify and spend quality time with each piece you choose. Ask and encourage questions along the way Think ahead about how you will encourage more interaction What in the piece makes you say that? What materials might the artist have used? What are you feeling as you take in the work? What do you wish you could ask the artist about the piece?

Create smooth transitions between works Give your audience a question about the next piece to ponder as you travel to see it Draw connections between works, where applicable Reference information you gleaned about the visitors during your introduction to help them relate to the work on a more personal level TIPS: You do not have to share all of the information you know about each piece In addition to giving select information, have the visitors tell you about the works Have them tell you what they see and how they interpret it Work as a team Conclusion Review key pieces youve spent time with What threads run throughout your tour? What do you want your audience to remember when they leave? Thank your audience for their time and attention Let them know you are available to answer any further questions

You may end your tour in a gallery and allow the group to naturally disperse, or you can lead them back to the Grand Lobby Non-verbal Communication Eye contact Have eye contact with all individuals on your tour Helps establish your credibility Directs attention When you look at the art, tour patrons will, too Be sure to then turn back around to face your group to maintain eye contact with them Do not talk to a group with your back to them Signals that you are paying attention and understanding what they are saying Keeps your group engaged Gestures Add interest and clarity Planned and deliberate Make these gestures for a reason, such as to direct attention to a portion of a painting

It is often considered rude to point with your finger. Instead, hold out your hand with the palm up and make a sweeping gesture to direct attention Spontaneous These gestures are often done automatically, such as those made when you say move in closer or lets stand back a little. A visual image of what you want your group to do and help to clarify the verbal message. Control the flow of conversation These gestures help indicate when it is your turn to speak or when you expect them to answer. Facial Expressions The primary source for emotional expression and helps indicate your mood A genuine smile goes a long way. Fake smiles involve only the mouth; genuine smiles also involve the eyes. If you are having a bad day, that will show on your face. Try to allow time before the tour to calm down, breathe deeply and have a peaceful moment so that your smile is genuine. Would it help to share that youre having a bad day, but are looking forward to the tour with them? Only if you can do so with humor. Otherwise, a statement like this can make the group feel uncomfortable. The greeting period during your introduction may be a good way to become so engaged with the tour group

that you get out of your own head. Body Orientation Demonstrates you are willing to communicate It is important to turn toward your tour group (which may mean turning away from the art) to facilitate conversation. Change it up if you have a large group, move from one side of the group to the other For challenging individuals, such as those who are dominating the conversation, you may be able to cut them off through body language. First, actively look at others in the group to indicate you want more people to get involved. Then, direct questions to specific individuals in the group. Gently use your body orientation to cut the domineering person off by turning your shoulder or back to the person. Finally, you may need to be straightforward and tell the person that you appreciate their enthusiasm, but that you want to hear from others as well. Distance/Space Communicates expectation

For instance, you can indicate where youd like your group to stop and stand before a work of art (for example, halfway across the gallery for a broad overview, then moving closer to examine details). If you move closer/lean in to your group, you communicate that you expect more interaction. If you take a step back, you communicate that you have the floor. Voice Volume will enhance your credibility; you hold the floor. If you talk too softly, it may become hard to hear you and visitors will lose interest more quickly. Answers to Your Questions What do I wear? Comfortable shoes, as you will be standing on a hard surface for an extended period of time Look professional (business casual) and be comfortable No flip-flops or tennis shoes No jeans or shorts No sunglasses on the head or hanging from the shirt neck What if there are behavioral issues with a school group? Remember that you are a tour leader, not a teacher or chaperone.

If a few children are not paying attention, quickly let it go. You have the attention of the majority and that is what matters. Refrain from trying to win over children who are obviously not interested in being here this is a larger issue than can be properly addressed on an hour-long tour. Your role is to lead a tour, thus it is important that you not sacrifice the experience for all due to the unruly behavior of the few. Often, the teacher will see the behavior and address the child(ren) responsible If this does not occur, you are free to say something directly to the child(ren), then get the teacher involved so that it is off of your plate. I notice you are being disruptive; what do you need? I need you to go with your teacher to another gallery; you are behaving poorly. Thank you for joining us your behavior shows that you are done. What if there is nudity or other mature subject matter in the art in the galleries? We do not censor any works of art. Only tour a piece if you are comfortable talking about its content with the individuals on your tour. If touring a school group, speak with the teacher before you begin to see if they are open to touring a particular work.

If you need to walk by an artwork dealing with mature subject matter, do so calmly and with purpose. Answer any questions that arise and move on. It is not your role to shield groups from certain pieces, nor to apologize. Your role is to conduct your tour. You may respond to questions with questions of your own: Why do you think the artist chose _____ as a subject? What do you feel when you look at this work? Why is that? How is this artwork different from seeing the same image in the outside world? For more information on the Moderns policies, please review the Tour Policy for Exhibitions with Mature Content. Miscellaneous Information No gum chewing Take advantage of visual aids, but use them sparingly an average of 2-3 for a 60-minute tour is sufficient. You may use an iPad (your own, or a Museum device) to display visual aids. Be sure you can operate it smoothly before the tour. Please refrain from discussing the monetary value of works of art. Some phrases to help you:

Thats interesting. There are many variables that determine how much an artwork costs. As a docent, I am not able to discuss the particulars with you. A reputable auction house can provide you with more information we are here to talk about the art, not its monetary value.

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