Walking Tour Docents

The Minnehaha County Historical Society is launching newly sponsored architectural walking & bus tours that will be offered in the Spring & Fall each year. The tours are led by a dedicated group of volunteer docents. Docenting requires no prior experience, only a love of the community and a desire to share it with others. However, the process of learning a tour takes time, dedication, study, and practice.

  • What Makes a Good Docent
  • Becoming a Docent
  • 2016 Docent Training Calendar
  • Application Process

What Makes a Good Docent

Giving effective tours is a combination of sharing good information, giving an entertaining presentation, and having the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. 


It is imperative that the information given on the tour be correct, and that it pertain to that tour’s particular topic. It is equally essential that the tour is well presented and interesting, and adapted to the differing ages/interests of each tour group. A strong voice and good leadership skills are also important when navigating tours through an ever-changing landscape.

Lastly, docents are ambassadors for the Historcal Society, so understanding of, support for, and engagement in, Society events and preservation is critical. If you are not familiar with the resources the Historical Society offers, we encourage you to explore our website to check out the Society’s programs, resources, and education efforts.



Becoming a Docent

The Docent Training program is a mixture of classroom sessions, field sessions, and independent study. The classroom sessions will encompass architecture, Minnehaha County history, historic preservation, and tour presentation, among other topics. Field sessions include presenting tour information to fellow trainees on practice tours, and “guest docenting” on a veteran docent’s public tour. Docents will receive an reference manual of tour information.


Docents initially train on one particular tour. For 2017 participants will choose between Architectural Gems, The Divorce Capitol USA, Prairie Schools & Churches. Once approved, docents are expected to give a minimum of one tour each season to remain active. After mastering a tour, docents are encouraged to learn additional tours.

It is important that trainees are able to attend all the sessions. Any missed sessions may impact readiness for following sessions. In addition, trainees will need to dedicate time in between sessions to learn the material and master the presentation skills.

Application Process

Applications are due by December 29, 2016. All applications will be considered following the deadline. We will notify applicants of acceptance to the program by January 8. For your application to be considered, you need to be a member of the Historical Society. Applications can be picked up at the MCHS office or contact Jennifer Dumke, Program Manager, at jdumke@mchs.org.


200 West Sith Street  Sioux Falls SD 57104             (605) 951-9200             info@minnehahahistory.org

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© 2016  by Minnehaha County Historical Society