Title:e-Docents: Shifting the Docents Business Paradigm
Authors:Ilana Trager
Publication:MW2002: Museums and the Web 2002

Bellevue Art Museum combines a contemporary art museum with a school, art studio and community center. The interpretive methodology reflects the multi-faceted nature of the organization. The Museum relies heavily on a fusion of contextual information, interactive teaching methods, hands-on art experiences, and 150 knowledgeable docents.

The Docent Extranet Project at Bellevue Art Museum was conceived to increase the administrative efficiency of the docent program, to improve staff/docent communications and relations, and to culminate in a positive impact on the visitor experience. The Docent Extranet is a private network intended to bring information to the docent, rather than making the docent search for the information. In a cooperative effort to replace the old "binder" system, Museum staff, consultants and docents are shifting the docent business paradigm, using web technology to provide new ways of learning, teaching, researching and communicating.

The wide scope and challenging nature of this project became clear early on in the planning process. The extranet includes online initiatives such as tour and gallery duty scheduling, research materials and resources, administrative documentation, online forms and continuing education opportunities.

This paper will examine the actual process of developing the Docent Extranet from the project management viewpoint including: technical specifications, project participants' roles and responsibilities, user interface and design, training methods, evaluation and future plans.