Today is Monday, June 5, 2023 The Water Taxi is not running.
Help preserve the heritage sites on the Thames and connect New London and Groton with the Submarine & Nautilus Museum.

Docent Academy

History Lovers … You are in for a treat!

Beginning on February 22, 2023, Thames River Heritage Park hosts its second Docent Academy – a 10-week, highly-acclaimed program on the history and heritage of the Thames – on Wednesdays from 9 AM – 12 PM. A collaborative effort by Thames River Heritage Park Foundation and the heritage sites that comprise the Park – Avery-Copp House MuseumBill Memorial LibraryEbenezer Avery HouseFort Griswold Battlefield State Park, Fort Trumbull State Park, Garde Arts CenterHempsted HousesLyman Allyn Art MuseumMonte Cristo CottageNathan Hale School HouseOld Town MillNL Black Heritage TrailShaw Mansion/NL County Historical Society, Submarine Force Library and Museum / USS NautilusThames River Heritage Park Docent Academy features several weeks of lively and informative talks and presentations, combined with site visits to each participating site.

View the updated updated Docent Academy weekly schedule.

Upon graduation, TRHP Docent Academy participants become eligible to volunteer at the site(s) of their choice. Site-specific orientation and training is scheduled on an individual basis by the host site. Graduates are asked to commit to a year of volunteer time.

COVID PrecautionsTo accommodate social distancing class size is limited. At the current time, masks will be required inside the all program sites, as well as proof of full vaccination. Unvaccinated participants must provide documented proof negative PCR test within 72 hours of the start of each session or a negative antigen test taken within 48 hours of the start of each session. Thank you for your cooperation.

TRHP Docent Academy FAQ

Who is should attend the program? Anyone with a love of history/heritage, a commitment to contribute their time and talent to support education, tourism and economic development in the community, a desire to learn more about the people and events which shaped the region.

What are Docents? Docents are trained volunteers who serve as guides and educators who engage visitors in an active discussion about heritage sites – the treasures within and the stories of those who contributed to their history. The English word itself is derived from the Latin word docēre, to teach.

Where will the program be held? 
The sessions will be held at heritage sites throughout the Park.

How much does the program cost?
The registration fee for the program is $150 ($15 per session) and includes visits and tours of heritage sites, stimulating presentations, Interpreter’s Guide to the Thames River Heritage Park, and the opportunity to reunite with long-time and make new friends. NEW LONDON & GROTON RESIDENTS: The New London Cultural Commission and Groton Utilities are providing fully-paid scholarships for the first 10 residents or each municipality who register.

If I am interested in the program and uncomfortable serving as a docent, may I still participate?
Absolutely! The program is intended to familiarize you to the Park’s heritage sites and their stories. It is a precursor to more in-depth docent training at the heritage sites. If serving as docent is not a right fit for you, then there are plenty of other volunteer roles at the heritage sites or with Thames River Heritage Park Foundation.

Do I need to participate in the Docent Academy in order to volunteer or serve as a docent at one of the Park’s heritage sites?
No. The Docent Academy is an invitation to learn about all of the heritage sites in the Park. If you are interested in volunteering at one of the Park’s heritage sites, please contact the site(s) directly.

Are the sites handicap accessible?
Several of the sites are handicap accessible; however, several of the historic sites have limited access for those with limited mobility.

Docent Academy Flyer 2023

TRHPF Photo & Video Disclaimer

Thames River Heritage Park Docent Academy is made possible thanks to grant funding from Connecticut Humanities and Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut; scholarship funding from New London Cultural District Commission and Groton Utilities; and sponsors and donors – people like you who support Thames River Heritage Park Foundation.