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13AViewoftheSanFranciscoNationalDocentSymposiumByMichaelCornfeldTheNationalDocentSymposiumtakesplaceeveryotheryearanddrawscloseto500docentsfromallaroundthecountry.The2013NDStookplaceinSanFranciscofromOctober17to20.ThankstotheendowmentfromDonHarperHMAisabletosendonedocenteachtimetothisextraordinaryandinspiringevent.Thisyearitwasmypleasureandprivilegetoattend.RarelyhaveIeverexperiencedabetterorganizedmorehospita-bleaestheticallypleasingandintellectuallystimulatingconferencethanthatputonbytheFineArtsMuseumsofSanFrancisco.EachdaywasfilledwiththoughtfulpresentationsinbreakoutsessionsexcellentexhibitionsinSanFranciscoswonderfulmuseumsdynamicpresentationsbykeynotespeakersandWONDERFULmealsthroughoutthesymposium.TheFineArtsMuseumsofSanFranciscoconsistingofthedeYoungMuseumandTheLegionofHonorhostedthisyearssympo-sium.AttheAsianArtMuseumdocentswerepositionedineverygallerywithstoriesdemonstrationsandmusic.AttheCaliforniaAcademyofSciencessymposiumparticipantswereamazedattheaquariumtheplanetariumthefive-storyconservatoryandtheearthquakesimulation.Eachofthesemuseumsputondelectabledinnersorfabulousbuffets.DidIsaythefoodwasWONDERFULThebreakoutsessionswereforthemostpartveryinformative.TheYellowstoneArtMuseumbuiltontheHMAsDocentSelectexhibitionbyrequiringitsdocentstocreateanexhibitionthemeandfollowtheentireprocessplanningstageswritinglabelsde-signingtheexhibitionthroughtothepublicityandhostingtheopeningreception.TheCrockerArtMuseumsessionfocusedonusingmentoringindocenttrainingandevaluation.Theirprogramwasdemandingandrequireddocentstowriteresearchpapersde-visetheirowntoursandtrainforaminimumofayearbeforegiv-ingprogramstothepublic.TheOaklandMuseumofCaliforniaspresentationdemonstratedhowamuseumofarthistoryandsci-encecouldusedifferentdocentstoexamineworksoftenofartfromdifferentpointsofview.TheSanDiegoArtMuseumsessionfocusedonSharedResponsibilityDocentandMuseumStaffandhowtheycooperatedinbuildingadocenttrainingprogram.Thiswasabitoverthetop.Theirtrainingprogramwastwoyearslongre-quiredapotentialdocenttoapplyforthepositionacommitmentoftwohoursperweekeveryweekatwo-yearcommitmentandva-cationshadtobeOKedbythedocentadministration.WheeeeewThreemajorspeakerspresentedatthethreeluncheons.NealBenezradirectoroftheSanFranciscoMuseumofModernArttalkedabouttheremodelingthatthemuseumwasundergoingandmuseumoutreachwhilethebuildingisclosed.RichardBrettellfromtheUniversityofTexasspokeonthephysicaldevelopmentofartmuseumsfromthe17thcenturytothepresent.Wealthyprivategentlemenbuiltartcollectionsaspartoftheirlibraries.ThefirstpubliccollectionIbelievewastheLouvreopentothepublicatthetimeoftherevolution.Eventuallypublicmuseumshadlogi-callydesignedfloorplansthatdisplayedworkchronologicallyuntilthelasthalfofthe20thcenturywhenbuildingshadappendagesaddedtovariousfacadesbecausenewadditionswereaddedtosat-isfynewbenefactors.ThemostexcitingpresentationwasthatofNinaSimontheviva-ciousdirectoroftheSantaCruzMuseumofArtandHistory.ShespokeontheParticipatoryMuseumalsothetitleofherbook.Ms.Simonadvocatedmuseumsmaketheaudiencethecenterofmuseumplanningandprogrammingratherthanthecollections.Museumsshouldworkwithcommunitymembersandvisitorstomakeculturalinstitutionsmoredynamicrelevantessentialplaces.ExamplesofpossibilitieswerethecreationofCommentWallsMemoryJarsvotingonfavoriteartworksStitchandBitchdaysandencouragingconversationsbetweenvisitorsstaffandthewholecommunity.DozensmoreideasarediscussedinherbookmakingthemuseumthehubofcommunalinteractionTheresultshouldbemorevisitorsmoremembersbiggerbudgetsandanimportantfutureforamuseumandourHuntingtonMuseumofArt.Ms.Simonwasinspiring.Iwanttothankthedocentstheeducationalstaffofthemu-seumandtheDonaldB.HarperNationalDocentSymposiumScholarshipformakingmyparticipationinthe2013DocentSym-posiumpossible.MichaelCornfeld