Kids participate in the Junior Docents program at the NM Museum of Natural History & Science. This popular program is returning to the Museum in 2023! Courtesy/NMMNHS
ALBUQUERQUE — The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science (NMMNHS) has announced that its Junior Docents program is returning to the Museum this summer!
Starting June 5, rising 7th through 12th graders will have the opportunity to learn about science while also developing the public engagement skills that go along with being a museum docent. Since Junior Docents began in 1991, more than 1,000 teens have participated in the program, representing over 40 schools and homeschool cooperatives in the area. This will be the first time since 2019 that the program will be held in-person at NMMNHS.
“Education is at the core of all the work that we do at this Museum, and our Junior Docents program is a tremendous opportunity to help students develop a taste for scientific inquiry and lifelong learning,” NMMNHS Executive Director Dr. Anthony Fiorillo said. “We have current staffers and docents who began their relationship with the Museum through Junior Docents, so I’m thrilled that we could bring it back to our Albuquerque facility.”
The program provides a comprehensive, hands-on, museum experience for middle- and high-school students. Docents learn about the nature of museums as places of education and entertainment and the many museum career opportunities available.
The program is supported and enriched by the active involvement of Museum staff, scientists, curators, and volunteers who share their content expertise and love of their fields with the Junior Docents. This year, the docents will focus on developing new activities for the Arthropod and Bat Carts, and learning to train and conduct Time Tracks Tours, a Junior Docent-designed project.
The Junior Docents program runs from June 5 through July 31, and docents must commit to work 50 hours over the course of the summer program. This typically entails a minimum of two 4-hour shifts per week, but extra shifts and opportunities to participate in special events at the Museum will also be available. All Junior Docents must attend training week, from June 5 through June 9.
The program is open to middle- and high-schoolers who are 13 to 17 years old at the start of training week and entering 7th – 12th grades in the fall. However, the most important qualifications for students looking to become Junior Docents are a curiosity about the world around them, an interest in STEM-topics, and a willingness to learn!
The Junior Docent Program has a competitive selection process. Junior Docents are selected based on their application and references. Returning Junior Docents must apply, but previous experience in the program will be considered in lieu of an interview. The program costs $175 per student, with financial assistance available.
To learn more about the program and apply, visit nmnaturalhistory.org/youth-and-family-programs-volunteers/junior-docents or contact NMMNHS Junior Docent Coordinator Kelly White.
About the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Board of Trustees of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science. Programs and exhibits are generously supported by the New Mexico Museum of Natural History Foundation, through the generous support of donors. Established in 1986, the mission of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science is to preserve and interpret the distinctive natural and scientific heritage of our state through extraordinary collections, research, exhibits, and programs designed to ignite a passion for lifelong learning. The NMMNHS offers exhibitions, programs, and workshops in Geoscience, including Paleontology and Mineralogy, Bioscience, and Space Science. It is the Southwest’s largest repository for fossils and includes a Planetarium and the large format 3D Verus Research DynaTheater.