Our volunteer docents participate in hours of training in preparation for their guided exhibition tours.

Free Public Docent-Led Tours

Looking for insights into contemporary art? Need a review of art appreciation 101?  Want to know more about the Lightcatcher’s sustainable design features, or the architecture of Old City Hall? Take a docent-led tour! Docents are gifted tour guides eager to share their knowledge in informal, interactive hour-long tours. This is a terrific way to learn more about art and history while you visit. Docent-led tours last an hour and are included with paid admission; members are always free.

Lightcatcher Building:

The Museum offers docent-led tours of featured exhibitions. All docent tours meet in the Lightcatcher lobby, last one hour, and are included with admission/free to members. We are currently touring Bellingham National 2019 Juried Art Exhibition and Awards on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 1:30pm.

Old City Hall:

Get an introduction to the architecture and history of the Museum’s iconic 1892 Old City Hall, including a sneak peak at the original city jail in the building’s basement. You’ll also learn about the early days of Bellingham and the founding of the city. Tours are offered every Sunday at 12:30pm. Old City Hall tours meet on the first floor, last one hour, and are included with admission/free to members.

Private Docent-Led History and Art Experience

Tour Old City Hall and the Lightcatcher gallery exhibitions through a private, pre-scheduled tour. Private tours are $15.00/person for non-members and $5.00/person for members. Call 360.778.8961 to schedule a private tour.

Private Tours Q & A:

What is included?

You can select one of our Lightcatcher building gallery exhibitions for your private tour. Tour options include Bellingham National 2019 Juried Art Exhibition and Awards, or People of the Sea and Cedar: A Journey Through the History and Cultures of the Tribes of the Northwest Coast.

Another option is to tour the Museum’s iconic 1892 Old City Hall for an introduction to the architecture and history of the building, including a sneak peak at the original city jail in the basement. You’ll also learn about the early days of Bellingham and the founding of the city.

Is there a discounted rate for student and/or senior private tour groups?

Private tours of the Museum buildings and exhibitions are led by experienced, knowledgeable Museum docents. Private tours must be reserved in advance and may be personalized to meet the interests of your group. The cost is $15.00/person for all ages. It covers the cost of admission to the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher building and Old City Hall, including access to all exhibitions, and a 10% discount on purchases made at the Museum Store the day of your tour. Museum Members pay $5.00. To receive the $5.00/person rate, we encourage everyone to support our exhibitions and programming by becoming a Museum Member which has many perks, such as free admission all year long, invitations to exhibition openings, and more.

My group is on a tight schedule. What is the cost to reserve a partial private tour?

When reserving a private docent-led tour the group leader is provided with several tour options. A typical tour takes approximately 60 – 75 minutes and includes a guided tour of one of the current exhibitions featured in the Lightcatcher building and a visit to Old City Hall. Private tours scheduled for 60 minutes or less will be accommodated with advance notice for no additional charge.

Become a Docent Tour Guide

Are you a life-long learner who loves art and history, enjoys interacting with the public, and wants to make a contribution to our community? The Whatcom Museum is currently considering applicants for our Spring 2019 docent training. As volunteer educators and ambassadors for the Museum, docents are committed to making art, history, ethnography, and natural history accessible and enjoyable for the Museum’s diverse audiences.  Docents commit to the following requirements:

  • A minimum of one year commitment to Museum service.
  • Become a Museum member.
  • Pay annual $20 docent program dues.
  • Attend training sessions, continuing education programs, Museum events, workshops, and openings to become familiar with exhibitions.
  • Adhere to a regular touring schedule. The number of shifts per year will be determined by exhibition scheduling needs.
  • Lead occasional private group tours.
  • Pass a WA State Patrol criminal background check.

Interested in applying? Download our Volunteer Docent Application and email to Sarah Hart, Manager of Education and Engagement, slhart@cob.org. The deadline to submit an application for our spring docent training is March 10, 2019.