Volunteer Combines Experience as a Librarian, Museum Docent

Dozens of people stand in Memorial plaza as they hold up a large American flag during the opening of the Museu in May 2014.
Candace Stuart says the opening of the museum was one of the highlights of her experience as a docent. (Photo: Amy Dreher)

For Candace Stuart, who has worked as a volunteer in the museum’s Docent program, her curiosity about 9/11 began right after that tragic day.

Working as a news librarian for ABC News at the time, she cites her research on the events of 9/11 as some of the most important of her career.

“The Docent program just puts it all together,” Stuart said.

Stuart, currently a librarian at New York University, was a member of the first class of museum docents in January of 2014 and became a volunteer when the museum first opened in May. She continued in the program throughout the year.

She says her library background and her work at the museum have complemented each other.

“They both involve teaching in a way, which I hadn’t experienced until I worked at NYU,” Stuart said.

Being involved in the Docent program has given Stuart the confidence to pass along the information she has learned through the program to museum visitors.

“It’s a great experience,” Stuart said. “You get to expand your knowledge of one of the most important events in this country’s history as well as improve skills in talking to people and groups.”

For Stuart, one of the most memorable moments as a docent came during the museum’s opening week. During that time, the museum was only open to survivors and family members of 9/11. Docents, who are normally encouraged to engage museum guests, were advised to let guests come to them.

“It was more listening then telling,” Stuart said. “It was a very moving experience talking to those who had first-hand knowledge and experience of what this museum is all about.”

In September, Stuart became an intern for the memorial museum’s exhibitions staff as part of her Digital Libraries certificate at Syracuse University. Stuart plans on soon returning to the museum as a docent on a regular basis.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities at the museum, click here.

By Deena Farrell, 9/11 Memorial Communications Intern

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