Los Altos History Museum launches docent program for local high schoolers

Those strolling through the apricot-enveloped wooden buildings of the Los Altos History Museum this summer may find themselves greeted and then guided through exhibits by a local teen.

The museum is offering its first Teen Docent Program, which provides high school students the opportunity to work alongside museum professionals as docents and learn about Los Altos history. Saturday is the deadline to apply for the program, open to students entering grades 9-12.

After a weeklong training seminar, scheduled 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 15-19, students will serve as docents until the end of the 2019-2020 school year, according to Jocelyn Lambert, the museum intern spearheading the program. Students, who may receive community service hours for participating, will be required to volunteer for two to four hours each month.

They will not only lead tours, Lambert said, but also assist with behind-the-scenes work, like researching subjects for the museum’s rotating exhibitions. Many projects will be tailored to students’ specific interests, she noted.

“We like to really have (the students) be responsible for their own projects, based on their strengths,” she said. “We want it to be really a mutually beneficial thing here. They aren’t just going to be sitting at the front of the museum, welcoming people. We want them to be responsible for some piece of history or exhibit or tour that really involves them.”

She added that the program will accept approximately 20 students this year. Ideal candidates are teens who are “curious and ready to learn,” according to Lambert.

“They don’t have to necessarily be super interested in history,” she said. “But we want the people who ask a lot of questions.”

The museum was founded in 2001 with the purpose of answering such questions about the local culture and history.

“History is storytelling, and everyone loves a story,” said Janet Klinke, chairwoman of the museum’s docent committee. “We particularly want to tell the stories of our community and preserve them in this museum. If we here in Los Altos don’t tell the story of our town, it just won’t be there any longer.”

Klinke added that recruiting teens for the program will help cultivate new, creative projects and outreach efforts on the part of the museum.

To apply and for more information, call 948-9427 or visit

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