Gracious volunteers are the face of the museum and the voice of the art within…

Volunteers are giving people by nature, and many of them are so gracious and selfless that they are fine doing their work without any real recognition.  Their true satisfaction comes from the joy in seeing the visitors’ excitement and appreciation of the experience they have the opportunity to present.  But what these volunteers contribute to Western Spirit is so valuable, that an event completely focused on showing them how much they are appreciated by the museum is the least we can do to remind them how special they really are.

At Western Spirit, our volunteers are called “Docents”.  The word “docent” comes from “docere,” a latin word meaning “to teach.” The term is used to describe educators and tour guides, who inform visitors at Western Spirit about the current exhibitions. Our docents love to share their appreciation for the history, the art, the beauty and spirit of our great museum, but they are not simply guides for the facility. They are absolutely committed to educating visitors about the exhibits through very accurate, interesting, stories and facts that enhance the experiences of the visitors.

On May 20th, the museum was able to hold an appreciation luncheon for our world-class group of docents.  Given the success of Western Spirit, we would ideally have 60-80 docents, but due to the pandemic, our numbers reduced to around 40 dedicated volunteers, who each provided roughly 100 hours of service to the museum.  We did our best to let them know just how much we appreciate their support by providing a delicious lunch and individualized recognition for each of their special contributions and talents.


Each docent was presented with a custom western-themed sculpture that honored them with a uniquely-named award.  On a small wooden pedestal, a western-themed animal or object was attached along with a nameplate with their special award name.  The docent who travelled the longest distance to get to the museum was given a sculpture of a covered wagon, and other examples included the Best Western Dressed award, the 1000 Hour award, the Most Inspirational Storyteller, Rookie of the Year, Most Enthusiastic Volunteer, and the Breaking New Ground award.

Simply stated, this museum could not exist and thrive like it has without our group of docents.  It has been said by countless museum visitors that the “human spirit storytelling” given at Western Spirit made their museum experience truly priceless, so the time and efforts to find the right volunteers, train them, and honor them are clearly one of the best investments Western Spirit can make.  Have you thanked a docent today?