The 2024 National Docent Symposium, a biannual conference put together by docents for docents, is headed back to Atlanta, November 14–17, 2024! The High Museum of Art Docent Corps hosted the Symposium in 1993 and can’t wait to welcome you back.
We’re going to shake things up in Atlanta! We’ve listened to your feedback, and we’re incorporating more ways to connect with fellow docents, more free time to explore Atlanta, more ways to engage with the High Museum of Art’s collection, more breakout sessions, and a reimagined Showcase of Ideas.
Our theme this year will be “Perfecting Your Craft.” Derived from the name of a yearly High Docent program, “Peer to Peer: Perfecting Your Craft,” it reflects what the National Docent Symposium is all about: docents learning from docents.
Watch a preview of what we have in store for 2024 Symposium attendees:
Meet our Co-Chairs
What if I told you that being a docent is something I’ve long dreamed of doing but never considered myself “studied” enough to step into such a coveted role. I was a banking HR professional, not an art historian. And then, the High came into my life and provided a pathway for this incredible docent journey and the opportunity to engage and share everything from our vast permanent collection to special exhibits with all our guests. Along the way, I discovered the National Docent Symposium Council and became invested in its mission. I eventually became a regional director of NDSC and then agreed to bring the National Docent Symposium back to Atlanta in 2024.
I have been a docent at the High Museum of Art for over 15 years, giving tours to mostly student groups, which I enjoy. My background is not in art, but I have valued the opportunity to make art a part of my life by serving as a docent. I served on the NDSC from 2011 to 2017 as the Southeastern Regional Director and am currently one of the three co-chairs for the Atlanta 2024 Symposium. I look forward to helping bring the National Docent Symposium to Atlanta in 2024!
I have held many volunteer positions and co-founded several community-based arts organizations, but being a docent at the High Museum of Art is the absolute best. The exchange with our visitors and my fellow docents is such an enlightening experience. In fact, I call going to the museum my “moment of zen.” In June 2019, I received a five-year pin and plan to add many more pins to the collection. My introduction to NDS came from my fellow docents, Bryan Brooks and Kristen Kiersey. I am thrilled to serve with them as a co-chair for the 2024 Symposium in Atlanta.
We are accepting Breakout Session and Sip & Share proposals now through October 15. Click below for more information.
Plan Your Visit
We are thrilled to host you in Atlanta for the 2024 National Docent Symposium. This page will provide the information and resources you need to make the most of your visit.
About the High
Located in the heart of Atlanta’s vibrant Midtown neighborhood, the High Museum of Art connects with audiences from across the Southeast and around the world through its distinguished collection, dynamic schedule of special exhibitions, and engaging community-focused programs. Housed within facilities designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architects Richard Meier and Renzo Piano, the High features a collection of more than 19,000 works of art.
The Starling Hotel, part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, is our host hotel. It’s a boutique hotel with an artsy vibe—a vibrant, upscale escape for creative souls who set the status quo. The Starling’s Midtown location lets you step right into the local arts scene without missing a beat. It’s just a ten-minute walk to the High Museum of Art and the Woodruff Arts Center.
The High Museum of Art and our host hotel, the Starling, are in the Midtown neighborhood. Known as Atlanta’s “Heart of the Arts,” Midtown’s Arts District is home to the Fox Theatre, the Woodruff Arts Center, MODA, the Center for Puppetry Arts, SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film, the Margaret Mitchell House, the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Piedmont Park, and numerous restaurants and bars.
Dress code at the Symposium is business casual. Plan to dress in layers and bring a jacket for cool evenings. Don’t forget comfortable walking shoes!
Getting to Atlanta
Most of you will fly to Atlanta through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest airport, located fourteen miles south of Midtown and our host hotel, the Starling. For the latest information, follow this link to the airport website and click on Ground Transportation.
There are several transportation options to get to the hotel from the airport: MARTA rail service (the Arts Center station is a short ten-minute walk from the Starling Hotel), limos, cabs, and rideshares (Uber and Lyft). For the latest information on these, follow this link on the airport’s website. Please note that the Starling Hotel does not have a shuttle service from or to the airport.
If you drive, the Starling has valet parking for an extra charge. We suggest you use Google Maps, Apple maps, or Waze for the best route and ways to navigate Atlanta’s traffic.
Atlanta is bursting with one-of-a-kind experiences—unique attractions, world-class cultural institutions, a happenin’ nightlife scene, award-winning dining, sporting events, world-class shopping, and beautiful parks and trails. There are so many experiences that you can have only in Atlanta, so why not stay an extra day.
Atlanta is a city of vibrant neighborhoods, each with its own unique personality. They’re easy to get to and walkable once you get there. Pick one and spend the day exploring its architecture, shops, and restaurants. Click here for more information.
If you like the outdoors, you’ll love Atlanta. Piedmont Park, with its stunning views of the Midtown skyline, is a short walk from the Starling Hotel. Adjacent to the park is the Atlanta Botanical Garden, with thirty acres of outdoor gardens to explore. Walk, run, or ride Atlanta’s BeltLine, which connects people to neighborhoods, dining, shopping, and art. Fernbank Forest, with trees that soar up to sixteen stories, is just minutes from Midtown.
Atlanta’s rich heritage is deep, progressive, and continuously evolving. The Atlanta History Center, with thirty-three acres of historic houses, gardens, and award-winning exhibitions, is dedicated to bringing Atlanta’s history to life. Historic Oakland Cemetery, located near the heart of downtown, is rich in history, art, architecture, and local lore. Explore the neighborhood and places that shaped the life and legacy of Dr. King at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park. The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum is filled with interactive displays and fascinating exhibitions that give you an in-depth look into Jimmy Carter’s legacy.
Atlanta is a shopping mecca. Ponce City Market is one of Atlanta’s favorite gathering spots for its shopping, dining, and rooftop carnival with fantastic skyline views. The Buckhead Village District features renowned luxury brands, upscale dining, and beautifully landscaped streets. Atlantic Station is an eclectic assortment of shops and outdoor cafes along brick-paved walkable streets.
Atlanta’s arts and culture scene, boasting more than fifty visual art galleries and more than thirty playhouses and theaters, is one of the most vibrant in the country. The renowned Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Alliance Theatre, along with the High Museum of Art, are located in the Woodruff Arts Center, the country’s third largest art campus. Check out what’s playing at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, one of Atlanta’s premier venues for live theater. It’s hard to miss Atlanta’s vibrant street art, which adorns parks, walls, tunnels, and walkways with color and imagination. And there is a museum for almost anything you’re interested in. Want more ideas? Visit the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau or Midtown Atlanta.
Making the Most of Your Free Time
We’ve built time into our 2024 National Docent Symposium so you can enjoy and explore Atlanta on your own. Here are some ideas to make the most of your trip.
Sleep late and grab a coffee from Starbucks in Colony Square or any of the coffee shops that dot the streets of Midtown. Get up early and take a run (or walk) in Piedmont Park. Or treat yourself to a full breakfast at the Starling or any of the nearby hotel restaurants.
Eat at one of the restaurants in Colony Square. Grab a sandwich from one of the restaurants in Colony Square or Politan Row and head to Piedmont Park. Or spend time with your colleagues in the Peer to Peer lounge.
Enjoy the annual holiday light display at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. This is a popular event, so purchase your tickets before you come. Visit the Atlanta Botanical Garden website for more details.
There are countless restaurants within walking distance of the Starling Hotel. Check out the fine dining venues located in adjoining Colony Square. Enjoy authentic Southern Cuisine at South City Kitchen in Midtown or Mary Mac’s Tea Room, “Atlanta’s Dining Room.” Want more ideas? Visit Midtown Atlanta.
Enjoy a concert or play at the fabulous Fox Theatre. Gaze at Atlanta from the Sun Dial Restaurant at the top of the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel. Or check out Ponce City Market, a renovated warehouse that features shops, a food hall with an eclectic blend of cuisines, and a can’t-miss rooftop experience with some of the best views of the city.
Shaking Things Up!
We’re excited to bring you an entirely new National Docent Symposium experience. We’ve listened to your feedback and are keeping the programming you enjoy and love while taking a fresh look at programs that weren’t quite working and adding new ways to enhance your experience in Atlanta.
We are accepting Breakout Session and Sip & Share proposals now through October 15, 2023. Click below for more information.
Thursday, November 14: Optional half- and full-day pre-tours during the day (extra cost). The event kicks off with an evening reception at the High Museum of Art.
Friday, November 15, and Saturday, November 16: Five breakout sessions, afternoon-out sessions, programming at the High Museum, Peer to Peer lounge, Sip & Share (the reimagined Showcase of Ideas), and a cocktail reception and dinner.
Sunday, November 17: The Symposium concludes with a breakfast and a closing speaker.
Opening in Spring 2024
Registration will open in spring 2024. Sign up for emails so you’ll be the first to know when we open registration.