Local News

Volunteers Help Bring State Capitol's History to Life

Posted September 10, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT

— By definition, a docent is a volunteer teacher. At the State Capitol, a docent is much more than that. Volunteers are learning to bring history to life for the thousands of students who visit every year.

"They can read about the Capitol in their textbook, but when they come here and see the desks that legislators sat at, they see the chairs that legislators sat in, when they see the carpets that hold so much history, it really bring it home," says docent trainer Andrea Bogart.

Training for new docents begins with a tour they will soon give themselves.

From the unique statue of George Washington in the rotunda to the old House and Senate chambers, docents must know all the historical facts about this newly-restored building.

Docents also bring their own experience and interests to the tours.

"Our docents have varied backgrounds," says Bogart. "When they go through our training, they learn the general information necessary to give the tours and then they gear the information toward their interests."

Vivian Barbee Coxe's interest is government.

"I'm a retired teacher and I want to share my interest in government with other people who come here to learn about it," says Coxe, a docent trainee.

She is not the only trainee who is excited about the opportunity.

"I think it's a wonderful opportunity for people to become involved in their community as well as inform the community about what the Capitol has to offer," says Khrista Dinges.

The Capitol offers 160 years of history; the docents offer a chance to learn it firsthand.

You do not need any special skills to be a docent, just a love of history. If you are interested in volunteering, call(919) 733-4994.