Class teaches museum guide skills

Six University of Miami students participate in the Lowe Art Museum’s “Learn How to be a Museum tour Guide Class,” which is a one credit class that takes place on Tuesdays from 2:00-3:30 in the afternoon. The students did a mock tour through the museum and practiced introductions, questions, and analysis of pieces of artwork. Sagette Van Embden//The Miami

Say goodbye to boring tour guides.
Taking place every Tuesday is the Student Docent Program at the Lowe Art Museum, a one-credit class that teaches students how to be tour guides at an art museum.
“This course offers students the opportunity to learn about specific works of art in the museum and to practice their presentation, speaking and listening skills while guiding other UM students during tours,” said Jodi Sypher, the curator of education at the Lowe and the professor of the class.
During the semester, students learn about artwork, public speaking and museum management.
“The class just started, but we are already learning how to give museum tours and to learn the inner workings and behind-the-scenes construction of exhibits,” said Stephanie Kryzak, an anthropology major in the class.
The class is not just for art students.
“This program is for students interested in learning more about art or art history and museum education, or for those who want to rid their fear of standing up in front of a group and speaking,” Sypher said.
At the end of the semester, all students are required to guide a group of students through the Lowe and then write a paper reflecting on the experience.
“I was able to appreciate just how much dedication is required to give tours and what exactly the purpose of giving tours was all about,” said Erica Benson, who took the class last spring,  in her reflection paper.
Sypher wants her students to take away more than just knowledge about the artwork.
“I hope that students gain an appreciation for taking a longer, slower look at works of art, gain confidence in themselves, tell other students on campus about the Lowe Art Museum and have fun doing it all,” Sypher said.
Kryzak hopes to use her skills to help educate others about art.
“Museums are really dynamic environments and I wanted to learn more,” Kryzak said. “I can help increase interest in museums and art for middle schoolers and high schoolers.”