Title:The Virtual Docent
Authors:James Berry
Publication:MW98: Museums and the Web 1998

Today's changing demographics and the fragmentation time for volunteering threatens to erode the volunteer base of most museums. This session will address the key question of whether a technologically enhanced docent program can counter these trends without diminsihing the qualities that have made docenting a mainstay of museum progaming. The presentation will layout some avenues for the electronic revival of docent programs with examples of virtual docenting from the Virtual Museums project of the Genesee Area Math Science and Technology Center in Flint, Michigan and the virtual docenting experiences of Historic Crossroads Village. The session will discuss vital questions that institutions face when technology is introduced into human organizations, as well as, the practicalities for sucessful application.