The Renaissance Center Extends a Call for Volunteer Docents

Renaissance Center

The UMass Interdisciplinary Center for Renaissance Studies, 650 East Pleasant St., Amherst, is reaching out to retirees in the greater Amherst area who may wish to volunteer as docents in one of the more unusual community-services activities available to Amherst area residents.

The Renaissance Center has a permanent staff, as well as visiting and resident scholars during the academic semesters. It houses an impressive library of Renaissance resource materials, hosts graduate and undergraduate seminars through the UMass Department of English, and offers lectures and events to students and community members alike. At the Center, volunteer docents sit in the Arthur F. Kinney Reading Room, providing a staff-affiliated presence in what used to be the living room of the former Dakin estate. The Reading Room is open to UMass students and to the public at large who come to further their knowledge of Renaissance studies. The benefit of having docents at the Center is that, while each docent spends her or his shift in the Reading Room, the staff do not have to dedicate a slice of their attention to monitoring the comings and goings of those who avail themselves of the Center’s facilities.

A contented satisfaction is the reward that docents tell of experiencing as their 2-hour weekly shifts pass through the UMass fall and spring semesters. Seated in the Reading  Room, docents settle into a cozy chair and turn to tasks of letter-writing, reading their own books, or dipping into the non-circulating materials along the bookshelves and tables of this elegant room. With staff assistance, docents may also access Renaissance materials housed in the non-circulating library downstairs. In addition, docents have a circulating library of their own in the nearby Swanson Room from which they are at liberty to borrow and return books.

To pursue your interest in serving as a Renaissance Center docent, call or email Jacqueline Price (549-1254; or leave a message on the Center’s phone (577-3600) to select an available 2-hour weekday time slot and to schedule a brief training session during your first shift as a docent. Come join our group of dedicated docents!

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