Research Institute of Child Development and Education

Museum Guides Now!

Locations: Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum and Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam

06Nov2017 07Nov2017


This two-day symposium will centre on the museum guide’s profession and the professionalization of their work in art and history museums. It marks the completion of the four year research project ‘Rondleiden is een vak’ (Museum guide: a profession in its own right), a joint initiative by the University of Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and the Van Gogh Museum.

The symposium Museum Guides Now! is fully booked. Registration is closed. If you are interested to join, please send a message to for a spot on the waiting list. 

Research project

Museum guide: a profession in its own right

The research project addresses the following questions:

  • What characterizes museums as learning environments and what can be learned during guided tours of art and history museums?
  • Which competencies should museum guides have?
  • How do museum guides and museum educators perceive a post-observation conference based upon a self-evaluation by the museum docent?
  • Does the participation in a (online) learning community improves the quality of the education programmes and teaching in museums?

Description of subprojects

In the first subproject we created two lists of learning outcomes that can be aimed at during guided tours of an art museum and history museum. These list are based on a review of the literature, expert meeting and online validation by museum education experts.

In the second subproject we compiled a preliminary list of competencies from the literature and interviews with museum guides and heads of education. Next, we used a Delphi technique to validate the list of competencies. This resulted in a list of 45 competencies for museum guides, organized in 4 main areas of competence. 

Based on the list of competencies, in the third subproject, we developed a self-evaluation instrument for museum guides and an observation instrument museum educators can use to observe tours. After two observed tours, the museum guides and educators engaged in a post-observation conference based on the self-evaluation of the docent. We investigated how the participants perceived the conferences directed by the self-evaluation of the museum docents.

In the last subproject of this research project we investigate a professional learning community consisting of museum guides, student teachers, a museum educator and a teacher educator, who work together on the redesign of a tour. 

This project is a joint initiative of:

Advisory Committee: Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, LKCA, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Reinwardt Academy

The project is co-funded by Fonds 21 and the Mondriaan Fund

Research Institute of Child Development and Education

Published by  RICDE