The 1941 Junior League docent training course conducted by the Metropolitan Museum of Art : an examination of museum education beliefs and convictions towards volunteer educators



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This thesis explored the 1941 docent-training course for members of the Junior League held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The research focused on understanding what place this philanthropic organization held in the American art museum at that time. This course at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was formed as an attempt to teach Junior League members to become trainers of docents and volunteers in their own communities. Additionally, I looked into the background of the museum staff members Francis Henry Taylor and Roberta Murray Fansler Alford Capers and the Junior League member Helen T. Findlay.

Utilizing historical research methods, four augments were formed regarding why this docent-training course occurred; (a) the new leadership and structure in the museum facilitating those training, (b) the collaborative work of Helen T. Findlay and Francis Henry Taylor and their passion towards art education for all audiences, (c) the Junior League’s continued commitment to community involvement, and (d) the fundamental need women had for involvement outside the home. The research concludes with a reflection toward the difficulties and hardships that accompany conducting historical research into the women of art education including non-traditional forms of historical documentation.