Supreme Court of the United States
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Docent Program

The Curator’s Office serves the Supreme Court of the United States by promoting a greater public understanding and appreciation of the nation's highest court. To this end, we collect the institution’s rich history, share it with a diverse audience through a variety of programs, and preserve it for future generations. Volunteer docents help fulfill this mission by giving courtroom lectures, leading private tours, and staffing the visitor desk.

The Docent Program

The Supreme Court of the United States attracts over 300,000 visitors a year. Student groups, members of the judiciary, lawyers, families, and tourists from around the world come to the Court. The docent program is designed to help these visitors gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the work of the Court, its history, and the art, and architecture of the building.

What Is A Docent?
The word "docent" derives from the Latin word docere, meaning "to teach." For the past 100 years, docents have been a vital link between the history and collections of American museums and historic sites and the public who visit them.


Docent responsibilities include:

VISITOR DESK — Provide information and direction at the visitor desk located on the ground floor of the building. Docents answer visitors’ questions about the functions, history, art and architecture of the Court, as well as its ongoing exhibits.

COURTROOM LECTURES — Conduct a 30-minute Courtroom Lecture for visitors every hour; escort visitors into the Courtroom; answer questions about the functions, history, art, and architecture of the building.

TOURS — Lead private tours on the functions, history, art and architecture of the Court; lead tours for VIP guests, foreign visitors and other groups; greet and lead large groups through the building.


Docents serve visitors to the Supreme Court by:

  • Presenting accurate information on the functions and history of the Court and the art and architecture of the building
  • Communicating directly with visitors of all ages, backgrounds, and levels of ability
  • Fulfilling the required commitment of one 3-hour shift per week (M-F) for one year
  • Attending training sessions as required
  • Maintaining an attitude of flexibility and respect in all relationships with visitors, staff, and peers
  • Functioning at all times within the guidelines and procedures of the Supreme Court of the United States and the Office of the Curator



Docents receive a variety of benefits for volunteering:

  • Meet new people and make new friends
  • Gain or improve public speaking and customer service skills
  • Contribute to the visitor experience of thousands of tourists to the nation’s capital
  • Learn about the nation’s highest Court
  • Receive discounts in the cafeteria and gift shop



The Supreme Court Docent Program is open to men and women age 21 and older who can complete the mandatory 25-hour training provided by the Curator's Office and commit to one unpaid, 3-hour shift (M-F) every week for one year. All candidates must pass a security clearance check. The Supreme Court is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and closed on weekends and federal holidays.

Additional Responsibilities include:

  • Must reside in DC Metro Area
  • Interest in serving the general public
  • Ability to learn accurate, detailed information and present it effectively to diverse audiences
  • Courtesy, respect, and patience with visitors
  • Ability to walk and stand for long periods of time
  • Ability to walk up stairs
  • Comfortable speaking to groups of any size and of all ages and backgrounds
  • Good oral communication skills; clear and strong speaking voice
  • Professional manner and neat appearance
  • Knowledge of ASL or foreign languages is helpful, but not mandatory



Training sessions for new docents are scheduled every 1-2 years at the discretion of the Curator's Office. Individuals accepted into the program must participate in 25 hours of mandatory orientation and training over a two week period. Sessions will provide instruction on the judicial functions of the Supreme Court and the art, architecture, and history of the Supreme Court Building. Additionally, new volunteers will receive training on the skills and responsibilities of docents, including presentation techniques, tips for working with visitors, and program policies.

During the first three months of service, new docents will work closely with experienced volunteers and will continue to receive on the job training by the Visitor Programs staff. Periodic in-service trainings and enrichment sessions for all docents are scheduled throughout the year.


Just complete the Docent Program Online Application

Applications will be reviewed and top candidates will be contacted for interviews. Acceptance into the program will be announced after interviews are completed.

Questions? Write us.


SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES 1 First Street, NE Washington, DC 20543